White House: US will not lift travel restrictions, citing Delta variant
The US has stated that the country will not lift the current travel restrictions “at this point” due to the rising concerns over the highly contagious COVID-19 Delta variant and the rising number of U.S. coronavirus cases, the White House.
The decision comes after a senior-level White House meeting late on Friday. It means that the already imposed travel constraints that have prevented much of the world’s population from the United States since 2020 will not be rescinded in the short term.
“Given where we are today … with the Delta variant, we will maintain existing travel restrictions at this point,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki stated on Monday, mentioning the spread of the Delta variant in the United States and abroad.
She further stated that “Driven by the Delta variant, cases are rising here at home, particularly among those who are unvaccinated and appear likely continue to increase in the weeks ahead.”
The declaration almost definitely dooms any attempt by U.S. airlines and the U.S. tourism industry to reclaim summer travel by Europeans and others covered by the restrictions.
Airlines have lobbied the White House for months to lift the constraints and sources have claimed that the industry may now have to wait until September for a possible revision.
The exceptional U.S. travel restrictions were first enacted on China in January 2020 to tackle the spread of COVID-19. Whereas other countries have since been added, most recently India was added in early May.
Last week, the U.S. Homeland Security Department has decided that U.S. land borders with Canada and Mexico shall remain closed to nonessential travel until at least Aug 21.
Whereas Canada said it would start permitting fully inoculated American tourists starting Aug 9.
In a joint presentation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel about when the United States would raise European travel restrictions, U.S. President Joe Biden said he would “be able to answer that question to you within the next several days – what is likely to happen.”
Merkel said any conclusion to lift restrictions “has to be a sustainable decision. It is certainly not sensible to have to take it back after only a few days.”
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Rochelle Walensky has stated that the seven-day average of new cases in the United States was up 53% over the previous week.
The Delta variant, which was first discovered in India, now includes more than 80% of new cases nationally and has been discovered in more than 90 countries.
On the contrary, the restrictions have brought strong criticism from people prohibited from farsighted loved ones and the White House has recognized a desire to reunite separated families.
Furthermore, the Biden government has rebuffed to offer any system of measurement that would trigger to unwind restrictions and has not revealed if restrictions on individual countries or focus on enhancing individual traveler scrutiny will be removed or not.
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