China, which is on the list of 18 countries that will be allowed entry into the "EU+" countries on July 1, has until noon Tuesday, Brussels time (6:00 p.m. Beijing time) to comply with the only demand from the European Union (EU) hindering its full inclusion in the list.
China will have to confirm it will allow visitors from the EU+ countries to enter its shores in a reciprocal arrangement. There is, as yet, no word from Beijing on its reply.
The EU announced the initial list of 18 safe countries at the start of the week. This list consists of 15 sovereign states, two city states and one microstate.
The 18 now on the EU+ "safe list" are Algeria, Australia, Canada, China, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay, Andorra, San Marino, Monaco and the Vatican. Monaco and The Vatican are city-states while San Marino is a microstate. The list will be updated every two weeks.
EU+ refers to the 27 member states of the EU plus Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. These four countries aren't EU member states but are part of the EU open-borders zone.
China has already met the two other EU+ requirements that will allow travelers from third nation's entry by July 1. One criterion is the COVID-19 outbreak in a country is in a similar or better position than the average situation in the EU+ area concerning the number and the trend in new infections.
The second criteria is for a country to have containment measures during travel that ensure a similar or better level of containment measures as the EU from its transport and transport hubs operators.
As was widely anticipated, the United States isn't on the list and there is no chance of it making the list this time. The U.S. fails to meet all three EU+ criteria for safe travel.
Because of the colossal mismanagement of its pandemic response by the Trump administration, the U.S. is being savaged by a renewed spike in COVID-19 cases nationwide. Thirty-six states are reporing increases in disease cases; 12 states say their case rates remain stable while only Connecticut and Rhode Island are seeing a decreasing number of cases.
The U.S. still leads the world in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths. As of Tuesday morning in Asia, the U.S. has to contend with 2.67 million cases and 129,000 deaths.
EU officials are quick to point out that decisions on what countries can and can't enter the EU are not political, but are based on science that allows member states to keep their citizens safe.
President Donald Trump, an opponent of the EU, is expected to launch a Twitter tirade announcing retaliation against the EU based on political grounds. One EU diplomat said "you can see not being on the list as something political, when one country is allowed in and another is not ... it is only ever about health."