British tourists could be forced to quarantine or take Covid-19 tests when travelling to EU countries under new bloc-wide rules and, if coronavirus infections increase, face being locked out of the bloc after the end of the Brexit transition period. EU member states and the European Commission began preliminary discussions on agreeing a standardised colour system, infection rate threshold and harmonised approach to travellers from high-risk areas for the bloc on Monday. They do not involve the UK, which will be treated as a non-EU country from January 1. “European challenges require European coordination,” a commission spokesman said on Tuesday, before adding that the plans were “welcomed” by national diplomats. The commission said that any decision on travel restrictions would be for individual countries to make, but urged EU governments to commit to the same “common criteria” when introducing them. The EU has banned all non-essential travel to the bloc from non-EU countries. Eleven countries, including Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, but not the US, are exempt. China will be exempt if it lifts a similar ban. The UK has not implemented the ban and, because it shares the Common Travel Area with Britain, neither has Ireland. Brussels’ recommendations say that EU members should not refuse entry to people travelling from other member states, even if they arrive from high-risk zones, but that they could require quarantine or Covid-19 tests. Britain is being treated as an EU member state until the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31 but is not allowed to take part in meetings discussing the new approach. Once the UK has left the Customs Union and Single Market at the end of the year, it will be treated as a non-EU country. Before introducing travel restrictions, the commission wants EU countries to consider how many new Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people in an area there are over two weeks, the percentage of positive tests carried out over seven days and the number of tests per 100,000 people carried out over seven days.