The EU has delayed putting the UK on a “white list” of countries from where non-essential travel into the bloc is approved because of concerns about the rise in cases linked to the Delta variant first identified in India.
Japan, which is in an extended state of emergency during which it has enjoyed a sustained reduction in infection cases, has been added to the list, diplomatic sources said. The country is due to host the Olympic Games on 23 July.
The decision in principle was made during a meeting of ambassadors in Brussels on Wednesday. Sources said the UK’s status would be examined again on 14 June.
Member states are recommended to lift travel restrictions on people coming from countries on the EU’s white list, which is currently composed of Israel, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Australia.
The UK’s level of infection meets the threshold to enter the list but concerns over a rising trend in infections, largely driven by an increase in cases of the highly transmissible Delta variant, prompted EU ambassadors to be cautious.