US school students return amid threat of Delta disruption – live

Afternoon summary

EU recommends against lifting Covid-19 restrictions for US travelers

The European Union has removed the US from a Covid-19 ‘white list’ of places whose tourists should be permitted entry without restrictions such as mandatory quarantine.

A majority of EU countries had reopened their borders to Americans in June, in the hope of salvaging the summer tourism season although most required a negative test ahead of travel. The move was not, however, reciprocated by the US.

The EU’s “white list” necessitates having fewer than 75 new cases daily per 100,000 people over the previous 14 days – a threshold that is not currently being met in the US.

According to Johns Hopkins University, the US suffered the world’s highest number of infections over the past 28 days. Also removed from the EU’s safe list due to a spike in Covid infections are Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro, and the Republic of North Macedonia.

The guidance is non-binding and the recommendation is that the fully vaccinated should nevertheless be granted entry for non-essential travel.

Afghanistan: Pentagon questioned about civilian casualties from drone strike

The Guardian’s world affairs editor, Julian Borger, is monitoring the latest updates on Afghanistan.

Responding to repeated questions about civilian casualties from a drone strike on Kabul on Sunday, the Pentagon spokesman, John Kirby said: “We are not in a position to dispute it right now, and … we’re assessing, and we’re investigating.”

The Pentagon insists that the target was an Islamic State car bomb heading for the airport, but reports from Kabul say there were many civilian casualties, including at least six children.

Kirby said that the strike would be thoroughly scrutinised, but added decisions about such strikes had to be made very quickly because of the nature of suicide attacks carried out by IS.

“We have to try to be as quick and as nimble as [IS] are. ..We believed this to be an imminent threat,” Kirby said. “We took the action that we believed was the most necessary at the best opportunity to thwart that attack.”

Uncertainty for US schools amid Delta variant threat

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