On Thursday, European Union member states agreed to add Ukraine to a list of countries from which travellers can enter the European Union during the COVID-19 pandemic, while Thailand and Rwanda were removed.
The EU’s eastern neighbour joins a “green list” of around 20 countries, which also includes the likes of Canada, Japan, New Zealand and the United States, the bloc said in a statement.
Brussels’ classification does not prevent member states from imposing requirements like testing or quarantine on incoming travellers from countries on the list.
The EU originally closed its external borders to non-essential travel in March 2020, but has since set up the regularly updated green list of countries and territories people can enter from – including the unvaccinated.
Vaccinated travellers are allowed in from any non-EU country.
For now, the list includes Albania, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brunei, Canada, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro, New Zealand, Qatar, Moldova, North Macedonia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea and the US.
China is also listed on condition that it too opens to travellers from the EU.
Decisions on inclusion or removal from the list are based on the pandemic situation, vaccination progress, how intensive testing is and the EU’s judgement of how reliable a country’s data is.
Countries can be added if they record fewer than 75 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in the preceding 14 days.
In Ukraine, that figure stood at slightly over 18 on 4th July, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, compared with 97.3 in Thailand and 90.9 in Rwanda.