| 15 April 2024, Monday |

U.S. will boost ‘Do Not Travel’ advisories to 80% of world

The U.S. State Department announced on Monday that it will boost its “Do Not Travel” guidance to nearly 80% of countries worldwide, citing “unprecedented risk to travelers” from the coronavirus.

The State Department already listed 34 out of almost 200 countries as “Level 4: Do Not Travel,” including places like Chad, Kenya, Kosovo, Brazil, Mozambique, Tanzania, Argentina, Haiti and Russia.

“This update will result in a significant increase in the number of countries at Level 4: Do Not Travel, to approximately 80% of countries worldwide,” the department said in a statement.

Getting to 80% would imply adding around 130 countries.

The move does not imply a reassessment of current health situations in some countries, but rather “reflects an adjustment in the State Department’s Travel Advisory system to rely more on (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s) existing epidemiological assessments,” the U.S. State Department said.

Most U.S. citizens were already prevented from traveling to much of Europe due to coronavirus restrictions. Washington has banned almost all non-American citizens who have recently been in most of Europe, China, Iran, Brazil and South Africa.

The White House has given no timeline for when it might ease those restrictions.

Asked for comment on the State Department announcement, Airlines for America, a trade group representing major U.S. carriers, said “the U.S. airline industry has been a strong advocate for the development of a risk-based, data-driven roadmap for restoring international travel.”

The group added it continues “to urge the federal government to transparently establish the criteria – including clear metrics, benchmarks, and a timeline – for reopening international markets.”

CDC did not immediately comment.

The CDC said, earlier this month, that people who are fully inoculated against COVID-19 can safely travel within the United States at “low risk” but CDC Director Rochelle Walensky discouraged Americans from doing so due to high COVID-19 infections nationwide.

“We know that right now we have a surging number of cases. I would advocate against general travel overall,” Walensky said on April 2. “We are not recommending travel at this time, especially for unvaccinated individuals.”

  • Reuters