The United States has no intention of lifting coronavirus travel restrictions as the Delta variant spreads across the globe.
"Given where we are today with the Delta variant, the United States will maintain existing travel restrictions at this point," a White House 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."
The restrictions were first put in place against China in March 2020 and have been expanded to include dozens of countries, including the United Kingdom, India, Brazil, Ireland, South Africa, Iran, and the 26 countries that make up the Schengen nations in Europe without borders. The restrictions were rescinded by former President Donald Trump in the final days of his term but reinstated by President Joe Biden in January.
White House officials defended keeping the restrictions in place and said they are working with public health experts to determine when international travel can safely resume.
"The administration understands the importance of international travel and is united in wanting to reopen international travel in a safe and sustainable manner," a White House official told CNN. "The reopening process is guided by the science and public health."
The decision comes one week after the administration renewed a ban on non-essential travel at the Canadian and Mexican borders.