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US to maintain travel restrictions as Delta variant drives surge in COVID-19 cases

The United States has restricted travel from the European Union, Britain, China and Iran for more than a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, later adding other countries including Brazil and India.

July 27, 2021 / 08:12 AM IST
In its latest advisories, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended avoiding travel to Spain and Portugal, two popular destinations for American tourists, due to growing cases of COVID-19. Representative image

In its latest advisories, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended avoiding travel to Spain and Portugal, two popular destinations for American tourists, due to growing cases of COVID-19. Representative image

In view of surging cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19, the United States on July 26 said that it would maintain restrictions on international travel into the country.

"We will maintain existing travel restrictions at this point," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.

“Driven by the delta variant, cases are rising here at home, particularly among those who are unvaccinated, and appears likely to continue in the weeks ahead,” she said.

Read: Global growth to stay strong but virus the top risk, say economists

US had in July eased travel advisory for India, lowering it from the highest Level 4, which means no travel, to Level 3, which urges citizens to reconsider travel.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

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A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

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There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

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In its latest advisories, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended avoiding travel to Spain and Portugal, two popular destinations for American tourists, due to growing cases of COVID-19.

The United States issued the same guidance for Cyprus, a week after also recommending against travel to Britain, the top international destination for US travellers after Mexico and Canada in 2019.

Asked how travel restrictions would help, Psaki said, "Yes, it is the dominant variant in the United States. That doesn't mean that having more people who have the Delta variant is the right step."

Also read: How the Delta variant upends assumptions about the coronavirus

The United States has restricted travel from the European Union, Britain, China and Iran for more than a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, later adding other countries including Brazil and India.

The European Union in June opened up to travellers from the United States, typically requiring proof of vaccination or negative tests, under pressure from tourism-dependent nations such as Greece, Spain and Italy that feared another bare season.

Read | Early antiviral response in nose may determine severity of COVID-19: Study

EU leaders have asked the United States to show reciprocity, and President Joe Biden on July 15 said he would have an answer on the issue "within the next several days" after appeals by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The United States makes widespread exceptions including for students, scholars, journalists and businesspeople, but European leaders have complained that the regulations inconvenience ordinary people and hinder transatlantic trade.

(With inputs from agencies)

 
Moneycontrol News
first published: Jul 27, 2021 08:12 am

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