Story at a glance
- The White House confirmed residents from countries in Europe, South Africa and others are not eligible for entry at this time.
- The country is experiencing a 170 percent uptick in new cases.
- Many are located in states with low vaccination rates.
The White House doubled-down on its stance against reopening travel as COVID-19 outbreaks worsen in some parts of the country.
This means that non-U.S. citizens will not be able to enter the country, including people from the Schengen bloc in Europe — an area comprised of 26 countries where people can move freely across borders — Brazil, India, Iran, China, the U.K. and South Africa.
"Given where we are today … with the delta variant, we will maintain existing travel restrictions at this point for a few reasons," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a press briefing Monday, per USA Today.
This is largely due to the spread of infections driven by the delta variant. National data reports a 144 percent increase in new infections, a 68 percent increase in hospitalizations and 7 percent in fatalities over the last two weeks.
Outbreaks are centralized in states like Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana and regions along the eastern portion of the Gulf Coast. These areas have lower vaccination rates than other parts of America.
"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," Psaki elaborated.