Last week, France became the latest European country- and the most major tourist destination- to remove America from its safe travel list. The French government issued travel restrictions on unvaccinated American visitors. France’s move evoked outrage from some, but many Europeans assumed that the move was the U.S’s just deserts.
The matter keeping Europeans awake is not just the increasing coronavirus case number of the United States or the lingering anti-vaccination sentiment. Most Europeans, whether they get vaccinated or not, have been barred from entering the US since March 14, 2020.
The U.S. international border has banned entry for:
- European Schengen area (the EU’s passport free countries)
- United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland)
- Republic of Ireland
- South Africa
Biden travel ban widens transatlantic rift
The U.S prohibition affects most European travelers but not Americans, permanent U.S. residents, certain student visa holders, or permanent visa applicants. They are exempt from these rules and just get a negative test before entering America. The ban was imposed under President Donald Trump.
Many Europeans thought that after taking office, President Joe Biden would remove the ban. In reality, he didn’t. Then, some people believed that he would eliminate Trump’s travel ban after he had a visit to Brussels or when he hosted German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Washington, around the time that Europe and Britain removed most of their restrictions. However, there isn’t any change in the travel policy.
The U.N. The General Assembly’s big meeting about vaccination will take place next week in New York with the participation of world leaders and foreign diplomats. But America appeared unwilling to relax its rules for a broader group of visitors.
Benjamin Haddad, director of the Europe Center at the Atlantic Council said that “At this point, it’s really just incomprehensible.”
Tensions seem to be flaring. The Times of London lately called the policy “Kafkaesque” and pointed to “political cowardice”. European diplomats have spoken out about the policy.
At least one E.U. officials canceled a planned trip to the United States to protest the incomprehensible restriction.
Though former President Donald Trump was the one who imposed the travel ban, it was Biden who was keeping it slam the door on Europe. The Trump administration decided to eliminate travel restrictions in January, but Biden’s administration soon reinstated them.
If the restriction lasted long, it would intensify a somewhat surprising transatlantic rift that has arisen under Biden’s administration. Many Europeans felt very angry by Biden’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan and other issues.
Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan makes America look stupid and ugly on the world stage. Photos of people trying to flee Afghanistan by gathering outside the gates of Kabul airport, along with pictures from inside a US military plane full of evacuees, have been broadcast around the world.
Hundreds of Americans were struggling to get to the airport. 13 US service members were killed in a terrorist attack outside the airport gates and more than 170 others died. America obviously suffers the biggest global decline in trust. The travel ban is now a key matter now in order not to transatlantic rift before it’s too late.
Administration officials took new coronavirus cases in America, caused by the delta variant, as an excuse for keeping the ban. The decision came after a senior-level White House meeting late on Friday. That means that longstanding travel restrictions that have prevented a large part of the world’s population from visiting America since 2020 will not be scrapped for the near future.
White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said that “Given where we are today … with the Delta variant, we will maintain existing travel restrictions at this point.”
She added: “Driven by the Delta variant, cases are rising here at home, particularly among those who are unvaccinated and appear likely to continue to increase in the weeks ahead.”
The restrictions have made those who are unable to meet their family members and friends outraged.
The Biden administration has declined to provide any figures on when restrictions would be removed and has not said whether it will lift restrictions on individual countries or concentrate on increasing individual visitor scrutiny.
That reason has grown weaker as time went on. Many European countries get vaccinated more broadly than America, and as a result, their daily coronavirus cases are down. The delta variant is powerful because it is likely to appear in America, where a large number of unvaccinated people and cases are much higher than in Europe.
#LoveIsNotTourism #StoptheTravelBan flooded on Twitter
The Biden travel ban is totally nonsense. People from most countries with lower vaccination rates such as Serbia or Mexico but Europe where about 80-90% of vaccinated people are banned. Where is the rationale?
Biden travel ban has triggered outrage for many people. A lot of people post on Twitter with the #StoptheTravelBan to express their objection to the travel restriction.
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