Australia has been included among a list of 15 nations whose are now able to travel to destinations that are part of the European Union.
Citizens from Australia, Algeria, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay can now enter the bloc as leisure travellers.
However, the move, which is aimed at getting more tourists across the continent, does not yet mean that Australians can leave the country, with our border restrictions still in place that disallow travel without an exemption.
The United Kingdom and four other non-EU states – Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway – are automatically included as “safe”, according to BBC News.
China is also on the list, but subject to a reciprocal agreement, which is still pending, according to the British national broadcaster.
The decision by the European Council to allow these nations to enter the bloc is also not legally binding, meaning states can choose not to open up to all 15 countries.
Moreover, within hours of the EU announcement, Italy, which has one of the highest COVID-19 death tolls in the world, said it would opt out of the agreement.
The nation said it would keep quarantine restrictions in place for all countries that were not part of the Schengen free-travel zone, according to ABC News.
“The global situation remains very complex. We must prevent the sacrifices made by the Italians in recent months [having] been in vain,” Italy’s Health Minister Roberto Speranza said.
However, hard-hit countries like Russia, Brazil, Turkey and the United States aren’t included because their containment of coronavirus is considered worse than the EU average, ABC News reported.
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