The United States will not lift coronavirus entry restrictions imposed on foreign travellers due to the spread of the Delta variant, the White House said on Monday.

“We will maintain existing travel restrictions at this point for a few reasons,” White House spokesperson Jen 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,” she said, adding that infections are set to keep climbing “in the weeks ahead.” 

The United States currently bars entry for most non-citizens from European Union countries, Britain, India, China, Brazil, South Africa and Iran.

Psaki said there was no concrete timetable as to when the ban could be dropped.

Many Europeans have been frustrated by the exclusion, especially after the EU’s executive body recommended last month that member states lift restrictions on entry by US citizens.

Germany is among the EU countries once again allowing entry to US tourists. During German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to Washington in mid-July, many in Europe had hoped for the Biden administration to announce an easing of the ban.

Former president Donald Trump had ordered an entry ban on foreigners from much of Europe in March 2020, as the pandemic began locking down the US and Europe.

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