Turkey remains off EU’s safe travel list

The European Union has kept Turkey off its safe list of countries from which the bloc allows non-essential travel, updated on Friday after a review by EU ambassadors.

The list serves as a guideline rather than a rule for the EU's 27 members, with the idea that no EU country should open its borders to countries not on the list.

It is based on criteria including the number of new COVID-19 cases recorded in a country over the last 14 days, whether its case load per 100,000 people is in line with the EU average, and testing capacities.

Turkey’s daily confirmed COVID-19 cases remained over 1,000 for a fourth consecutive day on Friday, according to Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca.

On his daily Twitter update, Koca said that 1,185 people had tested positive for COVID-19 over the previous 24 hours, bringing the total number of active cases in the country to 11,063.

New cases had hovered just below 1,000 from July 13 until Tuesday. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government had said 1,000 was a critical threshold.

Turkey’s death toll from the disease rose to 5,813 on Thursday, with 15 new fatalities over the previous 24 hours, Koca reported.

There are now just 10 countries on EU’s safe travel list, which takes effect on August 8, after the EU also excluded Morocco on Friday and Algeria last week.

The safe countries deemed to have the coronavirus pandemic largely under control are Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, and Uruguay.

China has also been approved, although travel would only open up if Chinese authorities also allowed in EU visitors.