EU diplomats say they barely considered letting Americans in for Europe's reopening
- The US was left off the European's list of countries allowed to enter the bloc when it reopened borders on Wednesday.
- Three EU diplomats told NBC News on Thursday that US coronavirus cases were too high for Americans to be considered for the initial reopening.
- A total of 15 countries made the cut. It includes China, where the pandemic started.
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EU officials eliminated the US early on while deciding which countries to allow in for their initial reopening on July 1, NBC News reported Thursday, citing three diplomats.
The diplomats, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, said the decision over which countries to reopen to was strictly based on epidemiological data.
So the US, which is currently grappling with the most coronavirus cases in the world, was never going to make the cut, they said.
"The US was never going to make it," one of the diplomats told NBC News. "Just look at their coronavirus situation."
The diplomats said the cuts were made by eliminating countries in multiple rounds, rather than evaluating on a country-by-country basis.
To pass the first round, potential countries had to have either the same or lower rate of new coronavirus cases than the EU average over a two-week period.
Around this time, the EU rate was 15 cases per 100,000 residents. The US rate at this time was almost 10 times higher - 145 cases per 100,000 citizens.
For this reason, the US never even made it into the next round, during which countries were evaluated on whether their infection rate was increasing or decreasing, and on how reliable their government was at tackling the virus.
This looked at, for example, the accuracy of a country's coronavirus reporting and availability of testing there.
In total, 15 countries made the list that allows residents to travel to the EU's member states from July 1.
Among the countries that made the list are China, where the pandemic started, and the US's northern neighbour, Canada.
The decision not to open the EU to travelers from the US will no doubt have an impact on Europe's tourism industry, but the diplomats said they never took that into consideration.
"If we started talking about making exceptions for countries that provide a lot of tourism, even if they have a lot of coronavirus cases, that would not be the right approach," one EU diplomat told NBC News.
A recent poll had showed that a majority of people in Germany, France, Spain, Denmark, and Portugal lost trust in the US because of its disastrous response to the pandemic.
European health experts have also been stunned by the US's slow response to its outbreak, as Business Insider's Tom Porter reported.
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