Americans can travel to Europe again, but so far, the United States has not reciprocated by opening the border, even though more and more people are being vaccinated.
Europeans can again cross each other’s borders in search of sun, beaches, new impressions, or just a break from everyday life. In early July, Europe also reopened to vaccinated American tourists. Norway has stricter entry restrictions than most countries in Europe, but for a short period, it became easier for Americans to enter Norway as well. But so far, the United States has not reciprocated.
Former United States President Donald Trump imposed a general travel ban on a number of countries, most of them in Europe, during the outbreak in March last year. The ban has remained standing since then.
Ball is on the US side
All EU and Schengen countries are on the list of countries whose citizens cannot enter the United States due to the pandemic, with some exceptions. Close family members, students, journalists, diplomats, and people who maintain critical infrastructure are among those allowed into the country. General tourist and business travel, on the other hand, are not on the list.
The European Commission has said that the ball is now in the court of the United States when it comes to letting European tourists in.
One of the reasons for the restraint may be a worrying increase in infection in recent weeks. Infection in the United States has doubled in three weeks. It is still far below what it was at its worst, but the delta variant and lagging vaccination are causing concern.
The United States was at the forefront of vaccination from the start, and more than 47% of the population is fully vaccinated. In Norway, around 30% are fully vaccinated, but we have surpassed the United States in the proportion of those who received one dose of the vaccine. 55% of Americans have received at least one dose, compared to 57% of Norwegians.
Actively working on reopening for tourists
US authorities still cannot give a clear answer as to when the border will reopen. The issue was raised in several meetings with European leaders in June, but since then, it has been quiet. At the end of June, during a visit to Paris, Foreign Minister Antony Blinken said that science and professionals are leading the decisions that are made.
“We are concerned with being able to resume travel as quickly as possible. But I can’t set a date,” Blinken said.
“I can say that we are working very, very actively on it because there is nothing we would rather see than travel restored,” he said. NTB has been in contact with the American embassy in Oslo, which referred to Blinken’s answer above.
Changes can happen quickly
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health told NTB that they are not in direct contact with other countries about entry for Norwegians. But the infection situation in Norway is made visible through the sharing of data with the European Infection Control Agency (ECDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
NTB has asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (UD) what kind of dialogue they have with the US authorities about entry and whether they have received any signals of reopening.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has replied that the Norwegian authorities do not have the opportunity to influence other countries’ entry regulations.
“The situation in many countries and areas is still unpredictable, and both easing and tightening are often announced at short notice,” Communications Adviser Guri Solberg at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews
Do you have a news tip for Norway Today? We want to hear it. Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org