In a move that is not surprising given the rise of the COVID-19 Delta variant, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will continue with the travel restrictions until Sept. 21. This marks 18 months of these restrictions that have affected the border economy.
The U.S. land border with Mexico, which has been closed for non-essential travel since March 2020. The U.S. has been dealing with the fourth wave of COVID-19, driven by the Delta variant.
Homeland Security states the following on their Twitter feed.
“To minimize the spread of #COVID19, including the Delta variant, the United States is extending restrictions on non-essential travel at our land and ferry crossings with Canada and Mexico through September 21, while continuing to ensure the flow of essential trade and travel. In coordination with public health and medical experts, DHS continues working closely with its partners across the United States and internationally to determine how to safely and sustainably resume normal travel.”
Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard stated this past week that they are meeting with their U.S. counterparts to find a way to reopen the border but said that its reopening will not be in the short term. It was even said that these restrictions may last two more months at least.
The White House confirmed on Aug. 5 it may require visitors from abroad to be vaccinated as part of its plans to eventually reopen international travel but it had yet to decide and would not immediately lift restrictions.
The White House in June launched interagency working groups with the European Union, Britain, Canada and Mexico to look at how eventually to lift travel and border restrictions.
The number of COVID cases in the U.S. has now surpassed 37 million, with the Delta variant currently accounting for more than 98% of newly confirmed cases in the country.
Unlike during the first waves of the coronavirus pandemic, there are significantly more children being hospitalized for COVID-19 infections amid the latest surge.
Over 4.4 million children have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic began, with more than 121,000 cases in the week ending Aug. 12, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Cases in children have risen substantially since the beginning of July and now account for 18% of newly confirmed weekly cases, leading to more hospitalizations.