The European Union has lifted its travel ban on 14 countries but confirmed restrictions will continue for citizens of the US and other nations still struggling to contain their coronavirus outbreaks.

New Zealand, Australia, Canada and Japan all made the “safe list” after seeing a downward trend in the number of new cases.

Travellers from China will also be permitted if the government in Beijing agrees to a reciprocal arrangement.

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The lifting of EU border restrictions will begin on 1 July for those four countries as well as Algeria, Georgia, Montenegro, Morocco, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.

It means that restrictions will continue in relation to the US, Brazil, Russia and India until the list is reviewed again in two weeks.

The United States has seen a surge in new cases over the past week, prompting several states to reimpose restrictions which were lifted last month.

It also remains the worst-hit nation in the world, with nearly 2.6 million people confirmed infected and more than 126,000 dead, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

The continued US travel ban on visitors from the EU, imposed by Donald Trump in March, would also have played a part in the EU decision.

More than 15 million Americans are estimated to travel to Europe every year, while around 10 million Europeans visit the US.

The EU border restrictions, which cover its 27 member states plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, were announced on 16 March.

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UK travellers were exempt from the border restrictions, even though Britain is no longer part of the EU, because it still remains part of the single market.

The EU said the criteria for being placed list of “third countries” included having an infection rate “close to or below the EU average”.

It also states those countries should have a “stable or decreasing trend of new cases over this period in comparison to the previous 14 days” and effective systems for testing, surveillance, contact tracing, containment and reporting.

The UK has its own 14-day quarantine system for all incoming travellers but is expected to confirm restrictions will be lifted for travellers from some popular destinations such as France and Spain.

Additional reporting by agencies

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