The US will keep in place COVID-19 travel restrictions for foreigners due to the rising number of cases caused by the Delta variant, a White House official said Monday.
The decision to not lift the existing travel rules means non-US citizens from numerous countries, including the United Kingdom, China and India, are still barred from entering the US.
“Given where we are today with the Delta variant, the United States will maintain existing travel restrictions at this point,” the official told Reuters.
“Driven by the Delta variant, cases are rising here at home, particularly among those who are unvaccinated and appear likely to continue to increase in the weeks ahead.”
The US currently prohibits most foreigners who within the last 14 days have been in the majority of the European countries, China, India, South Africa, Iran or Brazil.
The restrictions were first imposed at the start of the pandemic on China — and other countries have since been added to the list, including India in May.
The latest decision on travel comes as cases have surged across the US, mostly among unvaccinated Americans.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said Thursday that the seven-day average of new infections had jumped 53 percent from the previous week — with the highly contagious Delta variant now accounting for around 80 percent of cases in the US.
US airlines, however, have lobbied the White House for months to lift restrictions on travel in order to salvage summer tourism.
The Biden administration has been in talks with them about implementing international contact tracing for passengers before lifting travel restrictions.
“The administration understands the importance of international travel and is united in wanting to reopen international travel in a safe and sustainable manner,” the official said.
With Post wires