A senior White House official said the United States has no intention of lifting COVID-19 travel restrictions for non-Americans.
The decision comes amid pressure from airlines and industry lobbyists to lift the blanket ban before the end of the summer travel season.
The official said that the decision was due to the high number of infections, the transmissibility of the Delta strain of the Corona virus, and the recent warning against travel to Britain.
Cases in the United States continue to rise, especially among the unvaccinated.
“Given where we are today with the delta mutator, the United States will maintain current travel restrictions at this point,” an unnamed US official told reporters at the White House on Monday.
“Cases are increasing here in the country, particularly among those who have not been vaccinated, and it appears likely to continue to increase in the coming weeks,” he added.
The United States first imposed travel restrictions due to COVID-19 on China in January 2020.
Since then, the US ban has expanded to include non-US citizens who have recently visited Britain, the 26-nation Schengen group of countries in Europe, Brazil, Ireland, India, Iran and South Africa.
Last week, Canada announced that vaccinated Americans will be allowed to visit starting August 9.
Despite this, the United States said it would keep its borders closed to Canada and Mexico until at least August 21.
“The administration understands the importance of international travel and affirms its desire to reopen international travel in a safe and sustainable manner,” the White House official added.
It comes days after the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that the highly contagious delta mutant now accounts for 80% of all cases in the United States.
On Thursday, CDC Director Rochelle Walinsky said the weekly rate of new infections had jumped 53% in the previous week.
Vaccination rates in the United States have slowed since peaking in the spring. US officials say nearly all new infections appear among the unvaccinated, and they have begun referring to COVID-19 as a “unvaccinated pandemic.”
The latest COVID-19 news in the United States:
- Starting in mid-September, all New York City municipality workers, including firefighters, police officers and teachers, will be required to get vaccinated.
- More than 50 prominent US health care groups have issued a joint statement calling for health care workers to be required to take the vaccination.
- The White House said Monday that some people with the condition known as “prolonged COVID-19” may qualify for disability assistance.