The United States said on Monday it would maintain restrictions on international travel to the country, avoiding European pressure, as cases of the Covid-19 Delta variant increase at home and around the world.
“We will maintain existing travel restrictions at this point,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.
“The more transmissible Delta variant is spreading here and abroad,” she said.
The Delta variant has contributed to an increase in Covid cases in the United States, predominantly among unvaccinated people, and Psaki said she expected the trend to continue “in the weeks to come”.
When asked how the travel restrictions would help, Psaki said, “Yes, it’s the dominant variant in the United States. That doesn’t mean having more people who have the Delta variant is the right step. “
The United States has restricted travel from the European Union, Britain, China and Iran for more than a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, later adding d other countries including Brazil and India.
The European Union opened in June to travelers from the United States, usually requiring proof of vaccination or negative tests, under pressure from tourism-dependent countries like Greece, Spain and Italy who feared another troubled year.
European leaders have called on the United States to be reciprocal, and President Joe Biden said on July 15 he would have an answer on the issue “in the next few days” after calls from German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The United States makes many exceptions, including for students, academics, journalists and businessmen, but European leaders have complained that the regulations annoy ordinary people and hamper transatlantic trade.
© 2021 AFP