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The Biden administration extended non-essential travel restrictions to the northern and southern borders of the United States until August 21.
The United States has been limiting non-essential travel along both borders since the start of the pandemic and extending these restrictions on a monthly basis.
The restrictions do not apply to cross-border trade, US citizens and legal permanent residents, as well as people traveling for medical purposes or to attend school, among others.
However, in recent weeks the administration has come under fire for continuing to maintain the restrictions, more than a year after the COVID-19 pandemic, and after Canada announced its reopening to vaccinated Americans.
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In the notices to be published in the Federal Register, the Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, points out that there have been "positive advances in recent weeks," citing the millions of doses of vaccines administered in the United States, as well as the update of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that moved both Canada and Mexico from the Level 4 (Very High) risk category for covid-19 to Level 3 (High ) "in recognition of conditions that, while still requiring important safeguards, are improving."
Still, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) found that the outbreak and continued transmission and spread of COVID-19 both in the US and globally posed a risk.
The most contagious delta variant of the coronavirus now accounts for 83% of new cases in the United States.
A DHS spokesperson cited concerns about the dangerous delta variant and said the agency is in "constant contact with its Canadian and Mexican counterparts to identify conditions under which the restrictions can be safely and sustainably eased."
The restrictions take effect this Thursday and will remain in effect until August 21, "unless they are amended or rescinded before that date."
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