The United States will keep pandemic travel restrictions indefinitely due to concerns regarding the rapidly spreading delta variant, an official told Reuters.
The restrictions, in place since 2020, will remain in place for the near future, the White House decided last week. The decision comes despite lobbying by airlines, who hoped European tourists would bolster the U.S. airline and tourism industry over the summer.
“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 continue to increase in the weeks ahead.”
According to the CDC, as of last Thursday, the 7-day-average of coronavirus cases has jumped 53% over the week before. The delta variant now accounts for 80% of infections.
The U.S. currently bars most non-U.S. citizen travelers who have been in United Kingdom, the 26 European countries without border controls, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil in the last fourteen days.
The CDC requires coronavirus testing for all international travelers.
The U.S. land border with Mexico and Canada will be closed to non-essential travel until August 21, even though Canada said vaccinated American tourists will be allowed in starting August 9.