Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary, stated Monday that the United States was not prepared to remove restrictions from international travel because the Covid-19 Delta variant is gaining more ground around the globe.
Psaki stated that, “Given our current situation,” he said, “We will keep existing travel restrictions at the point.” The more easily transmitted delta variant of the disease is rapidly spreading here as well as around the globe. The delta variant is driving cases here in America, especially among unvaccinated people. This trend will likely continue for the next few weeks.
After chatter in the last few weeks suggested that a lift of the ban would be forthcoming, the statement was made. In June, Gina Raimondo (US Secretary of Commerce) stated that restarting international travel was a priority for the federal government. President Joe Biden made this statement earlier in the month when he met with Angela Merkel (German Chancellor). In the meantime, several European countries have lifted restrictions on travel from the United States and allowed vaccinated tourists to enter.
Psaki stated Monday that the White House is using U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to be its “northstar” in any decision making. The CDC published a weekly update on Friday that showed a 7-day average of 40 246 daily Covid-19 case, an increase of 46.7 percent over the previous week. According to the CDC, 83.2 percent (83%) of all recent U.S. case reports are from delta.
Last week, the CDC issued a Level 4-level advisory to avoid travel to the United Kingdom because of rising Covid-19 incidences. It noted that even fully vaccinated travellers could be susceptible to contracting and spreading Covid-19.
U.S. Travel Association EVP for public affairs and policy Tori Emerson Barnes, in a statement, urged Biden to reconsider their decision “inthe very near future,” noting that closed border did not stop the Delta variant from entering the United States and spreading.
She said that while other countries, such as Canada and the U.K. have taken steps to host inbound tourists this summer, rebuild local economies and create jobs, the United States is still closed to the important segment of the travel industry: the international inbound traveler. It is safe to start welcoming back inbound visitors from crucial markets, given the high vaccination rates on both sides.
In earnings calls last week, legacy U.S. airlines expressed optimism for the next months. However, most of the enthusiasm was focused on domestic U.S. Travel, with an anticipated rebound in business travel and short-haul travel to destinations like Mexico and the Caribbean. As restrictions are lifted, long-haul international travel demand and capacity will likely remain uncertain.
OAG reported Monday that the global airline capacity, which is traditionally the largest travel week in the year, fell 1.3 percent to 81.6million seats this week. This was a decrease of 31 percent over the 2019 level. John Grant, OAG analyst, wrote that the transatlantic market which generated $10.6billion in revenue between July and October 2019 will likely only have a tenth this year.
Grant stated that “Airlines are as anxious about the coming weeks as an Olympic athlete in Tokyo. They dropped another 2.6million seats in the final seven days of July, and then, until the end October, removed another 27.2 million seats.” These aren’t the actions that a recovering industry would take.
Publiated Mon 26 July 2021 at 21:27.53 +0000