British tourists face continued restrictions on travelling to the EU this summer even as the bloc opens up to others, including residents of the United States.
Eight countries are to be added to a list of countries from where the EU says non-essential travel is safe, but the UK has not been included.
Albania, North Macedonia, Serbia, Lebanon, the US, Taiwan, Macau and Hong Kong will join Australia, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and China on a “white list”.
Diplomatic sources said that while the UK’s level of cases per 100,000 people had been within the criteria for inclusion on the list, the exponential growth of infection by the Delta variant had proven to be an obstacle.
“There are serious concerns about Delta and surge of numbers,” an EU diplomat said. The expansion of the white list was agreed at a meeting of EU ambassadors in Brussels.
The decision means that member states remain advised to prohibit non-essential travel to those coming from the UK even as the EU looks forward to opening up for the summer holiday season to people from around the world.
The debate over whether to fully reopen, and Boris Johnson’s decision to delay stage four of his roadmap to normality, had played a part in the EU debate over British tourists, sources said.
Deaths are relatively low and stable in the UK and the Covid vaccines have been shown to work well in protecting people.