WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States says it 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.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told members of the media on Monday that the decision is directly tied to the delta variant.
"We will maintain existing travel restrictions at this point for a few reasons," Psaki said. "The more transmissible Delta variant is spreading both here and around the world, driven by the Delta variant, cases are rising here at home, particularly among those who are unvaccinated and appear likely to continue in the weeks ahead."
It was the latest sign that the White House is having to recalibrate its thinking around the coronavirus pandemic as the more infectious variant surges across the U.S. and a substantial chunk of the population resists vaccination.
It was also a reversal from the sentiment President Joe Biden voiced earlier this month when he said his administration was "in the process" of considering how soon the U.S. could lift the ban on European travelers bound for the U.S.
According to the Associated Press, on Monday, Americans were advised by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention not to travel to the United Kingdom because of a surge in cases there.
The AP reported that although most continental Europe has relaxed restrictions for Americans, Britain still requires travelers arriving from the U.S. to quarantine.