Jul 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

U.S. COVID-19 travel restrictions to remain in place as Delta variant spreads

Photo of rows of airplane seats

Photo: Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The U.S. will not lift travel restrictions amid concerns about the highly transmissible Delta variant and a surge in coronavirus cases, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday.

Why it matters: Since last year, the U.S. has barred entry for most noncitizens who have been in the United Kingdom, the 26 Schengen nations in Europe without border controls, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil within 14 days of arrival.

State of play: The seven-day average of new U.S. cases last week was up 55% from the previous week.

  • The Delta variant now accounts for 83% of cases nationwide.
  • With the U.K. seeing a recent jump in cases, the CDC urged Americans to avoid travel to the region last week. U.S. land borders with Canada and Mexico will continue to bar non-essential travel until at least Aug. 21.
  • "Given where we are today...we will maintain existing travel restrictions at this point," Psaki told reporters Monday. "Driven by the Delta variant, cases are rising here at home, particularly among those who are unvaccinated."

Worth noting: "The Biden administration has refused to offer any metrics that would trigger when it will unwind restrictions and has not disclosed if it will remove restrictions on individual countries or focus on enhancing individual traveler scrutiny," Reuters reports.

  • Other countries including France and Israel have mandated COVID-19 passes.
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