The European Council released a list of 15 countries on Tuesday that it recommended EU member states lift travel restrictions on and allow non-essential travel for.
The 14 certainties were Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, and Uruguay. China was at the bottom of the list with a note stating it was subject to reciprocal conditions.
The Council said the list would be reviewed every two weeks and takes into account whether nations maintained the number of COVID-19 cases over the last fortnight at or below the EU average in absolute and per capita terms; the number of new cases was stable or trending downwards; as well as an assessment on the country's response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The reciprocity of travel arrangements would also be looked at, and if the situation in a listed country worsens, it could be removed from the list, the Council said.
For countries not on the list, the Council said EU citizens, residents, and their families should continue to remain exempt from restrictions, as well as those deemed to be on an "essential function".
Due to the structure of the EU, the list only serves as a recommendation for member states.
"The Council recommendation is not a legally binding instrument. The authorities of the member states remain responsible for implementing the content of the recommendation. They may, in full transparency, lift only progressively travel restrictions towards countries listed," the Council said.
"A member state should not decide to lift the travel restrictions for non-listed third countries before this has been decided in a coordinated manner."
In March, the EU imposed travel restrictions for one month, which it subsequently renewed in April and May, and in June agreed to a gradual lifting of restrictions from July.
At the time of writing, travel advice from New Zealand and Canadian governments strongly suggested that people avoid travel, while Australia is preventing its citizens and residents from travelling unless an exemption is obtained.
According to the World Health Organization, since June 27, the United States has seen over 40,000 new cases each day, and cumulatively, its death toll now sits above 126,000 and its case total is over 2.5 million. Globally, the case total is now above 10 million with 503,000 deaths.
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