US intends to keep travel restrictions in place against UK, European countries, others

With the rise of the Delta variant, the United States currently has no plans to lift travel restrictions, according to a White House official.
The decision means that the country's current travel restrictions - denying entry to people from the European Schengen area, the UK and other countries - will remain in place
The Delta variant now accounts for about 83% of cases nationwide and has resulted in a surge in US COVID-19 cases. In the past two weeks, cases have increased 171% nationwide and the death rate has increased 19% from the week before.
The decision comes just a week after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Americans should avoid traveling to the UK due to a surge in coronavirus cases.
The US first imposed travel restrictions in March 2020 to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Which countries are subject to the travel ban?
The U.S. first imposed travel restrictions in March 2020 to slow the spread of COVID-19 and was reinstated by President Joe Biden in January after then-President Donald Trump lifted restrictions days before his term ended. The country still prohibits most travelers from entering:
European Schengen Area (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia , Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City)
United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland)
Irish Republic
South Africa
The decision to keep the ban comes a month after the European Union put the US on a list of countries for which travel restrictions are to be gradually lifted.
The US also recently extended land borders restrictions on non-essential travel to August 21, although Canada plans to reopen its borders to vaccinated American travelers on August 9.
The Biden government is facing increasing pressure to lift travel restrictions from other nations and tourism industry leaders. Biden was urged by Chancellor Angela Merkel to lift US travel restrictions on July 15, and various airlines have urged the government to lift travel bans.
When will the US lift its travel ban?
When asked whether Biden would lift travel restrictions if airlines introduce vaccination certificates or mandates, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said there are "ongoing working groups" looking into reopening international travel to the US.
"There are a number of issues in these ongoing discussions," said Psaki on Friday. "The president receives regular briefings on this, but we are relying on public health and medical advice as to when we will make changes."
US travel restrictions: Amid mounting frustration, Biden suggests that a decision about EU travel be made within days
Follow USA TODAY reporter Bailey Schulz on Twitter: @bailey_schulz.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Travel Restrictions: USA intend to maintain travel restrictions

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