“Given where we are today with the Delta variant, the United States will maintain existing travel restrictions at this point,” the White House official said.
The Biden administration has come under increasing pressure from the travel industry and US allies to lift pandemic-era restrictions limiting who can travel to the United States.
The official said the decision to maintain existing travel restrictions was driven by the spread of the Delta variant in the United States and around the world and the recent spike in the number of cases in the United States which “will likely continue to increase. in the coming weeks”.
The official also highlighted the recent CDC advice against travel to the UK due to an increase in cases there.
“The administration understands the importance of international travel and is united in reopening international travel in a safe and sustainable manner,” said the White House official. “The reopening process is guided by science and public health. “
Reuters first reported on Monday morning that the United States planned to maintain travel restrictions.
Tourism from overseas has effectively been halted while Covid-19 travel restrictions remain in place. The restrictions also prohibit migrants from seeking asylum and prevent foreigners from visiting their families.
The White House has repeatedly stressed that any decision to reopen international travel would be guided by experts in public health and medicine.
Senior Biden officials last month launched interagency task forces with the European Union, Britain, Canada and Mexico to examine how and when travel and border restrictions would be lifted. The groups are overseen by the White House Covid-19 Response Team and the National Security Council, and include representatives from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as officials from State Departments, of Health and Social Services, Homeland Security and Transport.
The Biden administration recently extended non-essential travel restrictions for the northern and southern borders of the United States until August 21. The United States has restricted non-essential travel along both borders since the start of the pandemic and is extending those restrictions on a monthly basis.
These travel restrictions do not apply to cross-border trade, US citizens and lawful permanent residents, as well as people traveling for medical purposes or to attend school, among others.
The announcement comes as Canada declares that effective August 9, fully vaccinated citizens and permanent residents of the United States currently residing in the United States will be allowed to enter Canada.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters last week that the White House would rely on its own health experts and not on the actions of other countries to decide on travel restrictions.
Dr.Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to the president and director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Sunday that the United States “was heading in the wrong direction” as the number of Covid-cases 19 continues to increase, especially among unvaccinated Americans.
This story has been updated with additional information.
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