The Biden administration will not lift the restrictions imposed on international travellers, multiple news outlets reported on Monday, amid a push from the tourism industry to lift the bans.
At the present, the United States bans most citizens from the 26 European Schengen nations, as well as the United Kingdom, Ireland, India, China, Brazil, Iran and South Africa from flying into the country. According to National Review, the Department of Homeland Security stated last week that the United States will continue to keep its land borders with Canada and Mexico closed to non-essential travel, in spite of the population of Canada, Germany, and several other countries on the banned list having a higher average of vaccinations.
Despite the travel ban on citizens of those countries, American citizens may freely travel abroad to many of those countries, including Mexico and European nations.
“Given where we are today with the Delta variant, the United States will maintain existing travel restrictions at this point,” a White House official said to 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 announcement, as reported by Reuters, has catastrophic ramifications for the U.S. airline and tourism industries, which were hoping to salvage summer travel revenue by Europeans and others still prohibited by the federal restrictions.
The strict travel restrictions were first imposed on China last January amid the initial spread of the COVID-19 virus. Other countries were added later, with India being the most recent addition to the no-fly list in early May.
The ongoing restrictions come in the wake of multiple outbreaks of the Delta variant of the coronavirus, which has affected parts of the United States, particularly among unvaccinated portions of the population. Former Food & Drug Administration commissioner Scott Gottlieb told MSNBC’s Squawk Box on Monday that he believes the U.S. is about two or three weeks away from the peak of the variant’s spread.
Last week, the Department of Homeland Security said that U.S. land borders with both Canada and Mexico will remain closed at least until August 21, despite Canada’s lifting of its side of the ban. Canada will allow fully vaccinated American travellers to enter the country starting August 9.