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U.S. to keep existing travel restrictions due to surge in Delta variant infection rates

Travelers walk through the Salt Lake City International Airport
Travelers walk through the Salt Lake City International Airport in Salt Lake City.
(Rick Bowmer / Associated Press)

The United States will keep existing COVID-19 restrictions on international travel in place for now due to concerns about the surging infection rate because of the Delta variant, according to a White House official.

President Biden earlier this month said that his 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.

The official, who was not authorized to comment publicly and spoke on the condition of anonymity, said while the administration understands the importance of international travel, cases are rising in the U.S. — particularly among those who are unvaccinated — and will likely continue to increase in the weeks ahead.

Officials say the quarantine requirement will be waived as of Aug. 9 for eligible travelers who have received a full course of a COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in Canada.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on July 19 advised Americans against travel to the United Kingdom given a surge in cases there.

Most of continental Europe has relaxed restrictions on Americans who are fully vaccinated, although the United Kingdom still requires quarantines for most visitors arriving from the U.S. Airlines say, however, that the lack of two-way travel is limiting the number of flights they can offer and seats they can sell.

But the rise and prevalence of coronavirus variants in Europe, especially the Delta mutation that is also spreading throughout the U.S., has caused the Biden administration to tread slowly about increasing transatlantic travel.


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