Washington (AP) – The US does not want to lift the travel restrictions imposed on travelers from Europe and other countries because of the corona pandemic.
“Due to the Delta variant, we are currently maintaining existing travel restrictions,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Monday. The delta variant would increase the number of corona cases – especially among unvaccinated people. “And it seems likely that it will continue to do so for the coming weeks,” Psaki said.
The EU had already asked Member States last month to gradually lift restrictions on travelers from the US and several other countries. Germany then allowed entries from the US, among other things, “for all permitted purposes of stay, including tourism”.
Decision Causes Criticism
The fact that the United States in return did not relax the restrictions on travelers from Europe, sparked criticism from, among others, the German business community. Entry from the Schengen area to the US is usually only possible for foreigners with a special permit. The Biden administration has always insisted that it be guided by scientific evidence in its decisions in the pandemic.
When Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Washington in mid-July, many had hoped for movement on the subject. US President Joe Biden had announced in a joint press conference with Merkel that he would like to comment on the topic in the coming days. Merkel had stated that she had raised the subject during the meeting with Biden. The chancellor stressed that a sustainable decision must be made now that will not be revoked any time soon.
Protection against the pandemic
To protect themselves from the pandemic, in March 2020 all EU states except Ireland and the non-EU states Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland agreed on recommendations to largely stop non-mandatory imports from third countries – including for American. Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump also ordered an entry ban for foreigners from large parts of Europe in March 2020. With few exceptions, foreigners from the Schengen Area, Great Britain and Ireland are currently not allowed to enter the US. Foreigners from India, China, Brazil, South Africa and Iran are also not allowed to enter the US.
Trump had already ordered in January – shortly before his departure – to end the travel ban from Europe. His successor Biden rejected the easing in the midst of the pandemic — so Trump’s decision never took effect. At that time, the corona situation in the US and in Europe was still dramatic. In the meantime, however, the situation has significantly improved, given the ongoing vaccination campaigns on both sides of the Atlantic. Due to the delta variant, the number of cases is rising again sharply in both the US and Europe.