Cases of the highly-transmissible COVID-19 Delta variant are continuing to rise in America and, as such, White House officials have decided to not lift any existing U.S. travel restrictions, reports say.
According to a July 26 report by Reuters, the “long-running travel restrictions that have barred much of the world's population from the United States since 2020 will not be lifted in the short term.”
"Given where we are today with the Delta variant, the United States will maintain existing travel restrictions at this point," a senior White House official told Reuters.
"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."
Airlines have been lobbying U.S. government officials for months to ease the country’s border restrictions, which bars most non-U.S. citizens who, within the last 14 days, have been in the United Kingdom, the 26 Schengen nations in Europe without border controls, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil.
Last week, the United States made the decision to keep its land borders with Canada and Mexico closed to non-essential travel until at least Aug. 21.
"Given the outbreak and continued transmission and spread of COVID-19 in the United States and globally, the Secretary has determined that the risk of continued transmission and spread of the virus associated with COVID-19 between the United States and Canada constitutes a 'specific threat to human life or national interests," reads a notice by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Canada, on the other hand, is set to begin allowing fully vaccinated American tourists to cross the land border starting on Aug. 9.
"With vaccination rates on the rise and fewer cases in Canada, we can begin to ease restrictions on border measures," said Canada's Health Minister Patty Hajdu on July 19.
U.S. President Joe Biden's administration has yet to offer any metrics or benchmarks that would indicate when U.S. travel restrictions would be loosened.
The United States is reporting an average of roughly 43,700 new cases per day over the past week, with Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Florida and Nevada reporting the highest daily averages of new COVID-19 cases per capita over the past week.
Since Jan. 26, 2021, all air passengers entering the U.S. have been required to show a negative 72-hour COVID-19 test (antigen or PCR) prior to boarding their flight. Official documentation that shows recovery from the virus has also been accepted.
For more information on U.S. entry requirements, click here.
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