The Biden administration will keep current restrictions on international travelers in place, multiple outlets confirmed on Monday.
The U.S. currently bars most citizens of the 26 European Schengen nations, the U.K., Ireland, India, Brazil, Iran, South Africa, and China from entering the country. The Department of Homeland Security also announced last week that the U.S will keep its land borders with Canada and Mexico closed to nonessential travel.
Meanwhile, American citizens may travel freely to many of those countries, including Canada, Mexico, and European nations. Countries such as Canada and Germany have higher vaccination rates than the U.S.
“Given where we are today with the Delta variant, the United States will maintain existing travel restrictions at this point,” a 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.”
The Delta variant of the novel coronavirus is causing renewed outbreaks in parts of the U.S., although the outbreaks are almost entirely concentrated among unvaccinated Americans. Former Food and Drug Administration commissioner Scott Gottlieb said the U.S. may be about two or three weeks from the peak of the variant’s spread, in comments to MSNBC’s Squawk Box on Monday.
The Biden administration has faced increasing pressure from stranded travelers, the travel industry, and members of the U.S. and foreign governments to lift the restrictions.