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The highly infectious delta variant is currently causing a surge in cases across the United States. Washington wants to remain cautious before opening up.
The United States has no immediate plans to lift existing travel restrictions, the White House announced on Monday, amid concerns over the rising number of coronavirus cases driven by the delta variant.
"We will maintain existing travel restrictions at this point," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters. "The more transmissible delta variant is spreading both here and abroad."
Psaki said that the trend of rising cases in the United States was likely to continue in the coming weeks, but would mostly just affect unvaccinated people.
Travelers from the European Union, Britain and Iran have faced restrictions for more than a year after the Trump administration first introduced the measure against China in January 2020. India was the most recent country to be added to the list in early May.
EU leaders had called on the US to drop restrictions on vaccinated and negative-tested travelers, following the introduction of such exceptions for visitors from the US to EU member states.
Earlier this month, President Joe Biden said that his administration was "in the process" of considering how soon the ban on European travel bound for the US could be lifted, after the issue was raised during a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
But Monday's announcement would appear to dash those hopes held by airlines and the travel industry of salvaging any summer vacation plans for Europeans.
European leaders had also hoped the US would relax its travel restrictions, complaining that the regulations inconvenience ordinary people and hinder transatlantic trade.
The US Department of Homeland Security said last week that land borders with Canada and Mexico would remain closed through August 21, even though Canada said it would open up to fully vaccinated Americans on August 9.
jsi/aw (Reuters, AP, AFP)