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President Biden Being Pressurized to Ease Pandemic Restrictions

The Biden administration is under pressure to relax travel restrictions for international tourists, which were placed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. With Europe’s borders opening to American visitors and vaccination rates rising in the United States, public health experts and travel industry groups believe now is the time to resume foreign travel.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken has stated that the United States is seeking medical opinion on the best course of action but that a group of American and European officials is working on a solution. However, critics argue that the administration should move more quickly, claiming that travel bans have nothing to do with the spread of COVID-19 and raising concerns about lost revenue from international business travel, summer vacations, and international students trying to arrive before the fall semester.

According to Steve Shur, president of the Travel Technology Association, which works with online travel agencies, airlines, and hotels, the administration’s travel bans are “locked in time.” As a result, except for American citizens returning from abroad, family members of U.S. citizens, and those from exempted groups like international students, travel into the United States from overseas is essentially shut down.

Travelers from China, Iran, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Brazil, and South Africa are all subject to entry bans in the United States. In addition, President Biden imposed a travel ban on India in April, citing an increase in COVID-19 cases. Experts argue it’s arbitrary to pick and choose nations based on COVID-19 infections because the disease, including the more extreme delta version, is already well-established in the United States.

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