Sunday 8/9/20

EU bans non-essential travel from Montenegro and Serbia as cases rise

EU ambassadors in Brussels agreed to reintroduce restrictions for citizens of Montenegro and Serbia on Tuesday.
Health Ministers from Portugal (L), Germany (C) and Slovenia (R) speak at a press conference. Photo: Tobias Schwarz/dpa.
Health Ministers from Portugal (L), Germany (C) and Slovenia (R) speak at a press conference. Photo: Tobias Schwarz/dpa.

Citizens of Montenegro and Serbia are to temporarily be banned from entering the European Union due to rising numbers of coronavirus infections, the European Council said on Thursday.

The two neighbouring non-EU Balkan nations were removed from an updated list of countries exempted from the bloc's pandemic-era travel restrictions on Thursday.

The new list now includes 12 countries, plus China, pending confirmation of reciprocity for EU citizens.

No travel restrictions currently apply to residents from countries on this list, which includes Australia, Georgia, Canada, New Zealand, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay, among others.

EU ambassadors in Brussels agreed to reintroduce restrictions for citizens of Montenegro and Serbia on Tuesday, but the decision was awaiting approval by member states.

The list of exemptions from restrictions is largely based on whether a country's number of new coronavirus infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the past 14 days is close to or below the EU average.

A nation's measures to contain the virus, the trend in infection numbers and the general response to the pandemic also play a role in the decision.

Exceptions are provided for countries from which citizens are not yet allowed to re-enter - for example, for EU citizens and their families, or for those travelling due to an emergency.

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