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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Member states of the European Union should only allow tourists in from countries that can prove their coronavirus outbreaks are under control, the European Commission said in guidance released Wednesday.

The big picture: Countries reporting some of the highest coronavirus death tolls in Europe — the U.K., Italy and Spain — are taking different approaches in their phased efforts to reopen their economies, and will likely do the same with travel.

  • Of note: If EU countries follow the guidelines, Americans would not be welcome as tourists — since deaths have continued to rise in the U.S. and testing is still not considered fully adequate. The State Department has advised Americans to avoid international travel.
  • NIAID director Anthony Fauci has testified that he expects testing to be at an adequate level by the end of the summer or early fall.
  • The White House declined to comment.

What they're saying: The core requirement that EU members should follow when allowing foreigners is epidemiological proof from their country that the spread of COVID-19 has "significantly decreased" and stabilized, according to the Commission.

  • Hospitals must be able to handle tourists and locals in case of an infection spike.
  • Local surveillance that monitors tourist activity should be in place.
  • Contact tracing, which the EU has released separate guidelines for, should be robust and the gathered information should be shareable between countries.

What's happening: Spain and Italy began reopening their economies this month by emphasizing industry over retail in detailed plans. Both countries dealt with large-scale outbreaks before the U.K. and issued social distancing directives early on.

  • In contrast, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson's address on reopening the country was decried as confusing and vague, as he changed the country's message from "stay at home" to "stay alert" and offered few details — before releasing more extensive guidance the next day.
  • Infections have plateaued in the U.K., while Italy is seeing a decrease and Spain has recorded a small uptick after a decline, according to leading models from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

The bottom line: "Until a vaccine is available, the needs and benefits of travel and tourism need to be weighed against the risks of a resurgence of cases requiring a reintroduction of confinement measures," the EU's report says.

Go deeper: Coronavirus hits tourism spots, in before and after photos

Go deeper

Updated Oct 7, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

Expand chart
Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand now has active no coronavirus cases in the community after the final six people linked to the Auckland cluster recovered, the country's Health Ministry confirmed in an email Wednesday.

The big picture: The country's second outbreak won't officially be declared closed until there have been "no new cases for two incubation periods," the ministry said. Auckland will join the rest of NZ in enjoying no domestic restrictions from late Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, declaring that NZ had "beat the virus again."

Aug 18, 2020 - World

CDC lifts travel warning as Bermuda ramps up testing to suppress coronavirus

A view of Coral Beach, Bermuda. Photo: Slim Aarons/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The CDC has lifted its coronavirus warning against nonessential travel to Bermuda, as the island ramps up a scheme to attract foreign workers on year-long residencies and marks 57 days with no detected community spread.

Driving the news: Over half of the British Overseas Territory's population has been tested for COVID-19 since on-island capabilities were set up on March 17. Premier David Burt told Axios the strict testing has left him "confident that we are going to be able to catch any clusters before they spread."

Aug 20, 2020 - Health

Trump administration declares teachers essential workers

Photo: Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security formally declared teachers essential workers in guidance released this week, continuing the Trump administration's push to reopen schools amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: Under the guidance, teachers are now considered “critical infrastructure workers,” like physicians and law enforcement officers, meaning they can return to the classroom even after possible exposure to a confirmed case of COVID-19 as long as they remain asymptomatic.