U.S. won't lift travel restrictions, citing spike in Covid delta variant cases

Key Points
  • Airlines and other travel companies have repeatedly pressed the Biden administration to loosen travel restrictions.
  • Several EU countries have lifted travel bans on foreign visitors, including from the U.S.
Travelers arrive at terminal 4 at JFK International airport in New York on December 22, 2020.
Kena Betancur | AFP | Getty Images

The United States will not lift foreign travel restrictions due to concerns over the rise in the more contagious Covid-19 delta variant cases, according to a White House official.

About 83 percent of new Covid cases in the U.S. this month are delta variant infections, and experts say the variant is behind the new wave of nationwide infections.

Reuters was the first to report the White House's decision.

U.S. delta variant cases are concentrated among those who are unvaccinated and the number is likely to increase in the coming weeks, the official said. They also note that last Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised Americans against travel to the United Kingdom, given the surge of cases there.

The U.S. currently bars entry for most noncitizens who within the last 14 days have been in the U.K., European Union nations, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil.

The surge in cases involving the "hypertransmissible" variant was not unexpected. Such infections had been predicted to double every few weeks.

On June 19, the delta variant accounted for just over 30 percent of new cases. On July 3, it crossed the 50 percent threshold to become the dominant variant in the U.S.

Pressure grows on Biden administration to ease travel restrictions
Pressure grows on Biden administration to ease travel restrictions