Sweden prohibits passengers from the United States, Israel, and four other countries from entering owing to concerning COVID-19 spikes.

It is the second European Union (EU) nation to reinstate the travel restriction for coronavirus concerns following Portugal, which banned Israeli visitors, according to i24News.

The ban, which also targets Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro, and North Macedonia, is set to take effect as early as the beginning of next week on Sept. 6 and will be in place until at least the end of October. 

According to Interior Minister Mikael Damberg, even in the case of Israel, which has been quite successful in its vaccination program, it still falls under the category of restrictions for their continual increase in new cases and a significant number of unvaccinated citizens remain.

Although it it did not ban U.S. citizens, Portugal announced its decision to stop Israelis from coming into the country on Wednesday, including those who had been vaccinated and could show documentation of a negative coronavirus test, the outlet noted.

Italy issued limitations on Israeli visitors on Monday, allowing only vaccinated travelers, those who have recovered from the virus within the last six months, and those who have a negative COVID-19 test to enter.

Sweden, Portugal, and Italy had taken action following the EU’s recommendation to its 27 member states to reinstate travel bans on all non-essential travel from areas with increased coronavirus infections.

According to the BBC, those removed from the EU’s safe travel list were the U.S., along with Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro, and North Macedonia.

The news media noted the EU’s recommendation was nonbinding, which means that individual nations can determine whether or not to continue to accept U.S. visitors with proof of vaccination, negative tests, or quarantine.

Although the EU had eased travel restrictions for Americans in June, the U.S. still had its non-essential travel ban in place since March 2020.

The U.S. is currently in a tense battle with the new wave of COVID-19 outbursts led by the Delta variant, well-known for its fast-spreading ability even among the immunized community, the news media noted.

This wave with the more lethal Delta variant had led to people flooding into hospitals at rates not seen since January. The country hit a record with almost 142,000 coronavirus patients in hospital beds.

In many areas of the country, the Healthcare system is also being pushed over the edge, with approximately one out of every five intensive care units at or near 95% capacity.

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