U.S. expands ‘Do Not Travel’ advisory to 80% of countries amid pandemic

Coronavirus

Travelers walk through the Salt Lake City International Airport, in Salt Lake City. The number of people flying in the United States has eclipsed the year-ago level for the first time in the pandemic period, although travel remains deeply depressed from 2019. The Transportation Security Administration said 1.34 million people passed through U.S. airport checkpoints on Sunday, March 14 topping the 1.26 million people that TSA screened on the comparable Sunday a year ago. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

(NEXSTAR) — The U.S. State Department is “strongly” urging all Americans to reconsider international travel, according to a press release issued Monday.

In light of “unprecedented risks” posed by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the department has announced plans to update its current travel advisories to better reflect guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In doing so, the department will expand its Level 4 (Do Not Travel) advisory to approximately 80% of the world’s countries.

Despite this “significant increase” in nations listed at Level 4, the State Department’s updated advisories do not necessarily indicate “a reassessment of the current health situation” but rather the criteria for designating a Level 4 destination, according to the department.

The updated advisories, which will begin appearing this week, will reflect the CDC’S Travel Health notices and “existing epidemiological assessments” in addition to any risks the State Department deems to be a threat to the safety of U.S. travelers. COVID-prompted travel restrictions, as well as COVID testing ability, will also be evaluated.

“As always, we are closely monitoring conditions around the globe, and will regularly update our destination-specific advice to U.S. travelers as conditions evolve,” the press release states.

Travel to the remaining 20% of the world’s countries is still discouraged, the State Department indicates.

The CDC, meanwhile, currently recommends all travelers delay any domestic or international trips until fully vaccinated. The agency also lists over 160 global destinations under its own Level 4 (COVID-19 very high) designation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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