August 31, 2021 | By Bronwen Largier

Australia is not alone in its struggle with the Delta variant of COVID-19 – the United States, despite having administered over 369.5 million vaccine doses, with 63.4 percent of the adult population fully vaccinated, is battling rising cases again. Although the latest surges are being pegged as the “pandemic of the unvaccinated”, the New York Times reports that even states with high vaccination rates are seeing a significant uptick in cases.

According to case data from the World Health Organisation, the nation has seen a serious uptick in cases since the week of July 19, with weekly cases a month later tipping over one million. There has also been a corresponding rise in deaths, with an average of over 1,000 deaths a day reported last week.

In response to the worsening situation stateside, the EU has removed the USA from its list of countries for which it recommends travel restrictions should be lifted for non-essential travellers into the bloc of 27 nations, although individual countries within the bloc can override the union’s stance. Israel, one of the most vaccinated countries in the world, has also been removed from the list as it battles a surge in cases and has begun administering booster shots already.

Somewhat inexplicably, Australia remains on the EU’s list of allowed countries for non-essential travel, despite soaring cases in NSW and a more slowly mounting outbreak in Melbourne, which according to the criteria for countries on the list, would preclude our inclusion.