Most Britons are banned from visiting the EU under Covid security rules

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Most Britons will not be able to travel to EU countries from January 1, when pandemic safety rules that allow free travel within the bloc will cease to apply in the UK. United.

The end of the Brexit transition period means the UK will be subject to a system that only allows non-essential travel from a handful of non-EU countries with low infection rates to coronavirus, the European Commission said.

EU member states have avoided ignoring a recommendation to prevent entry of travelers from countries such as the US, which are not on the list of “safe” third countries. Only eight of the countries with very low coronavirus infection rates are on the list.

Eighteen EU countries have a higher infection rate than the UK, according to the data the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, the Covid Tracking project and national ministries of health.

Britons will only be able to travel to EU countries if the bloc eases its travel restrictions in the event of a pandemic or if some member states choose to bend the rules.

EU officials said there are currently no proposals to add the UK to the list of safe countries, which includes Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. If a proposal is made, Britain will still have to meet the technical criteria for inclusion. These include epidemiological benchmarks and an assessment of coronavirus containment measures, as well as “economic and social considerations”.

Some EU member states don’t even allow travelers from countries on the safe country list, reflecting the tough battle much of Europe faces to control infection rates coronavirus. Only 12 of the European countries apply the list in full, while three – Hungary, Croatia and Norway – have not adopted it at all, the committee said.

In another sign of the imminent concrete impacts of Brexit, Norway – which is part of the EU’s travel organization – has confirmed that it will prevent British citizens who do not live in the country from entering from the January 1st.

Norway, whose largest exporting country is the United Kingdom, this week signed health care and social security agreements with the United Kingdom, as well as a business continuity deal ahead of a possible deal. commercial in its own right.

British travelers could still visit the bloc after December 31 under exemptions, including for diplomats, “imperative family reasons” and some “highly skilled workers from third countries”. Nationals of European countries who live in Britain will continue to be allowed entry, as will Britons who reside in the EU.

The British mission to the EU did not immediately comment.

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