The United States will not be lifting restrictions on inbound travel from Europe – including Ireland – for the time being due to growing concerns over the spread of the Delta variant of Covid-19.
The decision was announced following a senior level meeting at the White House, which means that the travel restrictions first imposed in March 2020 banning most of the world from entering the United States will continue for the time being.
A senior White House official told Reuters that “Given where we are today with the Delta variant, the United States will maintain existing travel restrictions at this point.”
“Driven by the Delta variant,” the official continued, “cases are rising here at home, particularly among those who are unvaccinated and appear likely continue to increase in the weeks ahead.”
The announcement will come as a huge disappointment to the U.S. airline and travel industry, who had been heavily lobbying the Biden administration in recent weeks in a bid to save the summer tourist season.
The U.S. has also extended border restrictions on its two closest neighbours, Mexico and Canada, until 21 August at the earliest.
The European Union lifted the ban on U.S. travellers on 18 June.