June 18 coronavirus news

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Mahtani, Veronica Rocha and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 7:51 PM ET, Fri June 18, 2021
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10:02 a.m. ET, June 18, 2021

EU recommends lifting travel restrictions on US and 13 other countries

From CNN's Lindsay Isaac

Travellers arrive at Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas airport on June 7, in Madrid, Spain.
Travellers arrive at Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas airport on June 7, in Madrid, Spain. Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

The European Union's governing body has recommended that the bloc should lift Covid-19 restrictions on non-essential travel from 14 countries, including the US. 

In a statement on Friday, the European Council said member states should “gradually lift the travel restrictions at the external borders” for residents of the following third countries:

  • Albania
  • Australia
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • Lebanon
  • New Zealand
  • Republic of North Macedonia
  • Rwanda
  • Serbia
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Thailand
  • United States of America
  • China, subject to confirmation of reciprocity

Travel restrictions should also be gradually lifted for the special administrative regions of China Hong Kong and Macao. The condition of reciprocity for these special administrative regions has been lifted, it added. 

The decision was based on criteria covering the “epidemiological situation and overall response to COVID-19, as well as the reliability of the available information and data sources.” It adds that reciprocity should also be taken into account on a case by case basis.

The list is to be reviewed every two weeks.

8:09 a.m. ET, June 18, 2021

It's possible the US could see a Covid-19 surge this winter. Here's how to avoid it.

From CNN's Madeline Holcombe

With the odds stacked against the US reaching the target of 70% of adults at least partially vaccinated by July 4 — a goal set by President Joe Biden — a vaccine expert said time is running out to get ahead of the potential spread of Covid-19 variants.

"Vaccines are our only way out of this," Dr. Paul Offit told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "Unless we vaccinate a significant percentage of the population before winter hits, you're going to see more spread and the creation of more variants, which will only make this task more difficult."

The numbers of Covid-19 cases and infections have decreased, Offit said. But with hundreds of people dying and at least 10,000 people infected most days, the rates are still too high to prevent the summer lull from turning into a winter surge, he said.

Already the US has seen surges of the highly transmissible Alpha and Delta variants, while the spread of the Gamma variant is growing in several states.

In order to attain herd immunity, or the point at which the virus cannot easily spread within the community, experts have offered estimates of it requiring the innoculation through infection or vaccination of between 70 to 85% of the population. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 53% of the population has received at least one dose of the vaccine.