The EU on Wednesday gave the green light for the return of American tourists, even unvaccinated, and must approve the first national stimulus packages to mitigate the economic damage of the pandemic.
If the epidemic, which has killed at least 3,824,885 people worldwide, ebbs in the West, the situation is deteriorating in Russia where the mayor of Moscow has made vaccination against Covid-19 mandatory in the service sector to counter a “dramatic” development.
As the summer holidays approach, the ambassadors of the Twenty-Seven have given the green light to add the United States to the list of countries and territories whose travelers, even not vaccinated against Covid-19, can be admitted to the EU, European sources told AFP.
In addition to the United States, Albania, Lebanon, North Macedonia, Serbia, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao have been added to this list which until then included eight countries (Japan, Australia, Israel, New Zealand , Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand).
The EU had closed its external borders in March 2020 for non-essential travel and established for a year a shortlist, regularly updated, of third countries whose residents are allowed to travel to Europe.
Europeans are based in particular on the epidemiological situation of the country and the progress of its vaccination campaign, and countries can be included if they have recorded less than 75 cases of Covid per 100,000 inhabitants over the last 14 days.
This is the case of the United States (73.9), which however crossed the threshold of 600,000 deaths on Tuesday.
A “sad milestone”, lamented President Joe Biden, calling on Americans to get vaccinated “as soon as possible”.
Thanks to the vaccination campaign, the number of daily deaths has indeed fallen considerably, and allowed a near return to normal in most of the country.
Almost all restrictions were lifted Tuesday in California, as well as New York, where 70% of adults received at least one dose of the vaccine.
– Reopening of the Taj Mahal –
In other countries, it is also time for the gradual reopening, such as in India where the iconic Taj Mahal welcomed visitors on Wednesday, after a two-month closure imposed at the height of the second epidemic wave that has private the tourism sector of the region of revenue.
“The second wave of Covid has passed. By the third, I’m finished,” Lucky Feizan, a 20-year-old trader told AFP.
The number of daily infections has been declining for a few weeks in the country, which has officially recorded 379,573 deaths and 29.63 million cases, prompting several large cities, including New Delhi and Bombay, to relax restrictions on travel and commercial activity.
In Spain, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Wednesday promised an upcoming abandonment of the mask in the street, while in France, several voices were raised to ask to advance the lifting of the curfew scheduled in principle on June 30.
In Russia, on the other hand, one of the most affected countries, the mayor of Moscow has announced a compulsory vaccination for all employees in the service sector.
“We must simply do everything to carry out mass vaccination as quickly as possible and stop this terrible disease and put an end to the deaths of thousands of people,” said Sergei Sobyanin, who had already declared the week of June 15 to be non-working.
– ‘Historical achievement’ –
Russia said Wednesday it had counted 13,397 new cases in 24 hours and 396 deaths.
To date, less than 13% of the population has received at least one dose, with Russians wary of the local vaccine, Sputnik V.
After the spring 2020 containment, Russia, to preserve its economy, had implemented very limited anti-Covid restrictions, most of which were lifted in early 2021.
Unlike the EU countries whose President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, arrived in Lisbon on Wednesday and will then travel to Madrid to give the green light from Brussels to the first national stimulus plans, financed by an unprecedented common loan .
“This is a historic achievement,” von der Leyen said last week announcing in the European Parliament that the Commission will start approving Member States’ plans to implement the 750 billion dollar stimulus package. euros, fiercely negotiated until its adoption in July 2020.