On Monday July 26th, White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced that international travel restrictions would continue until further notice. The White House cited an increase in contagion cases caused by the delta variant as the main reason behind its decision to extend the travel restrictions. Currently, the US is banning non-essential travel for non-U.S. citizens from several countries. These include all citizens coming from the Schengen area, Brazil, South Africa, among others.
Driven by the delta variant, cases are rising here at home, particularly among those who are unvaccinated, and appears likely to continue in the weeks aheadJen Psaki, White House press secretary
Earlier this month, President Joe Biden had expressed confidence that the travel restrictions could be soon be revised. He said the administration was “in the process” of considering how soon the U.S. could lift the ban on European travel bound for the U.S. after the issue was raised by German Chancellor Angela Merkel during her visit to the White House.
It really is an issue predominantly among the unvaccinated, which is the reason why we’re out there, practically pleading with the unvaccinated people to go out and get vaccinatedDr. Anthony Fauci
According to news outlet EU Observer, Germany’s coordinator for transatlantic affairs, Peter Beyer, has made clear to Biden’s administration that the entry ban for Europeans is hampering German businesses. “Industry above all is waiting desperately for a loosening,” he said. “We’re not talking peanuts here We urgently need fact-based reciprocity in the entry rules between the US and the Schengen area.”
British transport minister Grant Shapps echoed a similar sentiment in the UK. “We cannot change that on the other side, but we do expect that in time they will release that executive order, which was actually signed by the previous president and bans inward travel,” Shapps said.
For the time being, several countries around the world, including the EU, have eased or are planning to ease restrictions on US citizens, although the UK still requires quarantines for most visitors arriving from the US. Some airlines have stated, however, that the lack of two-way travel limits the number of flights they can offer. Canada plans to welcome vaccinated US travelers as of August 9th.
On Sunday July 25th, Dr. Anthony Fauci appeared on CNN and depicted a bleak outlook. “If you look at the inflection of the curve of new cases, it is among the unvaccinated. And since we have 50% of the country is not fully vaccinated, that’s a problem,” he said.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, show that there have been more than 40,000 cases on a 7-day average and the delta variant makes up about 83.2% of recent cases in the country. US health officials report that the delta variant accounts for an estimated 83% of U.S. COVID-19 cases, and noted a 32% increase in Covid-19 hospitalizations from the previous week.
According to the CDC, 69% of American adults had received one vaccination shot, slightly below the 70% goal Biden had set for July 4. Travel + Leisure reports that 56.8% of all Americans have received at least one dose and 49.1% are fully vaccinated. US citizens are currently warned that they should avoid traveling to the UK, Spain, Portugal, among other countries in Europe.