– Coronavirus pandemic: Rwanda is the first country in sub-Sahara Africa allowed to travel to the European Union again!

According to a press release by the Council of the European Union (EU), Rwanda is the only nation in sub-Saharan Africa that appears on a list of 14 countries that are allowed again to travel to the EU. As from today (01 July 2020), the member states of the EU start lifting the temprary travel restrictions at the external borders for residents of Rwanda. Rwandans have been banned from entering the EU since 17 March 2020 in line with an EU-wide travel restriction on all non-essential travel from third countries into the EU as a measure to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

As of 01 July 2020, citizens of the following third countries are allowed to travel to the European Union again:

  • Algeria
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Georgia
  • Japan
  • Montenegro
  • Morocco
  • New Zealand
  • Rwanda
  • Serbia
  • South Korea
  • Thailand
  • Tunisia
  • Uruguay
  • China, subject to confirmation of reciprocity

This list is being reviewed and, as the case may be, updated every two weeks.

The countries were chosen based on certain criteria, such as the epidemiological situation and containment measures, including physical distancing, as well as economic and social considerations.
Regarding the epidemiological situation, third countries listed should meet the following criteria, in particular:

  • number of new COVID-19 cases over the last 14 days and per 100 000 inhabitants close to or below the EU average (as it stood on 15 June 2020)
  • stable or decreasing trend of new cases over this period in comparison to the previous 14 days
  • overall response to COVID-19 taking into account available information, including on aspects such as testing, surveillance, contact tracing, containment, treatment and reporting, as well as the reliability of the information and, if needed, the total average score for International Health Regulations (IHR). Information provided by EU delegations on these aspects should also be taken into account.

Reciprocity should also be taken into account regularly and on a case-by-case basis.