Wednesday October 21, 2020
Canada was on the original list of 15 countries that EU officials deemed acceptable for non-essential travel amid COVID-19. But the list is now down to eight countries, and Canada is not on it. (Julio Cortez/The Associated Press)
European Union officials are moving to halt Canadians from travelling to the bloc of European countries amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In July, the EU set up a so-called white list of countries whose citizens would be allowed access for non-essential travel.
Canada had been on the approved list from Day 1, along with 14 other countries.
The United States has been on the list of banned countries from the start.
In August, the EU removed Algeria, Montenegro, Morocco and Serbia from the white list because of rising COVID-19 case numbers in those countries.
Officials meet every two weeks to decide if any changes should be made to the white list, and no changes had been recommended since then.
Rising case numbers
On Wednesday, officials met for their regularly scheduled meeting. According to Reuters, Bloomberg and other reports, they decided to remove three countries — Canada, Tunisia and Georgia — while adding Singapore to the approved travel list.
An EU official speaking on condition of anonymity confirmed to CBC News that the bloc has decided to change the makeup of the white list, the finalized version of which is expected to be made public within days.
According to CBC's coronavirus tracker, there are more than 203,000 confirmed cases of the disease across Canada, with 2,251 new cases on Tuesday.
After the changes, the white list consists of nine countries: Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Uruguay.
The decision doesn't ban travel immediately, nor is it necessarily strictly enforced in every EU country.
Some countries, such as France, have not placed any restrictions on visitors from countries on the white list. Germany has pared the list down while Italy requires a period of self-isolation and demands travellers take a private vehicle to their destinations even if they are on the white list.
The Canada Border Services Agency doesn't provide a detailed breakdown of how many Canadians have been travelling to various EU countries, but Statistics Canada does note that in July, the month with the most up to date data, 57,000 people came to Canada from France, 11,000 came from the Netherlands and 42,000 from Germany.