China will be only one of a select group of countries that will be exempted by an European Union travel ban on July 1 meant to keep travelers from countries heavily infected by COVID-19 from reaching the European continent. Travelers from the United States, Brazil and Russia, the three most heavily infected countries on Earth, will be denied entry into the EU,

Countries that will be allowed or disallowed entry into the 27 EU member states plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland will be based on two lists of acceptable visitors now being drawn-up.  Countries in the list are ranked as to how they fare in controlling the COVID-19 outbreak. What's known is both lists include China. Both lists also include developing countries like Cuba and Vietnam.

Sources in the EU cited by media said both lists exclude the United States and other countries such as Brazil and Russia deemed too risky because of the untamed spread of COVID-19 within their shores. This being the case, U.S. citizens and those reaching the EU from the U.S. are unlikely to be allowed into Europe for business or tourism when the continent reopens its borders shut since March on July 1.

One list includes 47 countries with an infection rate lower than the EU average. The other and longer list consists of 54 countries with slightly worse case rates than the EU average.

The United States is considered unsafe based on tough EU epidemiological criteria. The primary epidemiological metric that determines entry into the EU measures the average number of new cases per 100,000 people over the last 14 days. The EU has an average of 16 new cases per 100,000 people.

On the other hand, the U.S. has 107 new cases per 100,000 people. Brazil's has 190 and Russia 80.

EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson said countries on the list allowed entry into the EU must pass three criteria: at minimum these countries should have COVID-19 under as much control as the EU average, these countries should have containment measures during travel and they should also be willing to allow EU visitors entry. The U.S. fails in the first and third requirement.

More than 15 million Americans travel to Europe each year. The travel ban is expected to do immense damage to U.S. firms on the continent.

EU health experts said the EU's new entry rules will underscore the many flaws in president Donald Trump's handling of the pandemic. It's now widely accepted Trump's refusal to lead the U.S. in fighting the pandemic, and his downplaying of the pandemic's severity, led to the U.S. inheriting the unwanted role of being the world leader in number of cases (2.4 million) and deaths (123,000).