Rome News-Tribune

Citing delta variant, U.S. reportedly decides not to lift travel restrictio­ns

- By Nelson Oliveira New York Daily News

The U.S. has decided not to lift existing travel restrictio­ns “at this point” because of the alarming surge of new COVID-19 cases nationwide and spread of the highly contagious delta variant, a White House official reportedly confirmed Monday.

The restrictio­ns affect most non-u.s. citizens who have recently been to more than two dozen European countries, including the United Kingdom, as well as Brazil, China, India, Iran, South Africa and others.

“Given where we are today with the delta variant, the United States will maintain existing travel restrictio­ns at this point,” the 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 person said.

The U.S. Department of State did not immediatel­y return a request for more informatio­n.

The decision comes as the nation faces a rise in new coronaviru­s infections, hospitaliz­ations and deaths, a new pandemic wave largely driven by unvaccinat­ed Americans. More than seven months after the U.S. vaccine rollout began, only half of the population is fully inoculated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As many people refuse to get the potentiall­y lifesaving shot, the deadly delta variant continues to spread, becoming the dominant strain in the country. The seven-day average of new cases confirmed in the U.S. over the past week was over 40,000, an increase of nearly 47% from the previous seven days, the latest CDC coronaviru­s report shows.

The travel restrictio­ns were also likely to delay the nation’s economic recovery, dealing another blow to the tourism industry.

The rise in new cases recently led the U.S. to extend travel restrictio­ns with its own neighbors. Federal officials last week announced that land and ferry crossings with Canada and Mexico would remain closed to nonessenti­al travel at least until Aug. 21.

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