In another major blow to Pakistan’s economic revival efforts, the country has not been included in the draft list of 54 countries that will benefit from the reopening of the European Union external borders, which is expected to happen by the beginning of July.
Surprisingly, India was named on the list despite being the fourth most coronavirus infected country in the world with cases over 545,000 and more than 16,000 deaths.
The United States, which has the most Covid-19 cases in the world and is experiencing a surge in new infections, also failed to make it to the list as the EU countries believe that the US failed to control the coronavirus pandemic.
Euro News citing sources said that EU officials failed to agree on a common list of the countries that would definitely be banned from entering the block upon the border reopening but managed to create a list of the countries with a better epidemiological situation, the citizens of which will be able to enter Europe by the end of next week.
The same sources have also confirmed that citizens of Brazil, Qatar, the US and Russia will only be able to enter Europe at a later date when the epidemiological situation in these countries improves.
‘Smart lockdowns’ are Europe’s best hope
The countries that made it to the list included: Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Australia, Bahamas, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Dominica, Egypt, Ethiopia, Georgia, Guyana, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Lebanon, Mauritius, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Palau, Paraguay, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Serbia, South Korea, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vatican City, Venezuela, Vietnam and Zambia.
An EU diplomat said the bloc’s executive commission had proposed three criteria for allowing in passengers from third countries, including the epidemiological situation of that country, but EU member countries would have to determine what the relevant measurements and thresholds should be.
“There’s no list [of countries], just a list of criteria,” another EU diplomat told Reuters.
The second diplomat said member states were considering using a country’s rate of infection per 100,000 people to decide whether to allow in passengers, but had not yet agreed at what threshold to set this criteria. The threshold would also need to account for factors influencing the reliability of this data, such as a country’s Covid-19 testing capacity.
Earlier this month, the European Commission recommended that the bloc gradually reopen its borders to non-EU travellers from July and use three criteria to decide which countries to allow visitors from: countries should have Covid-19 under at least as much control as the EU average, have containment measures during travel, and be willing to let in EU visitors.
In March, when cases were rising in Europe, US President Donald Trump had banned most EU citizens from entering the United States in a bid to curb the outbreak there, angering EU officials.