The US State Department is preparing to update its international travel guidelines by raising the risk level of about 80% of the world to "Level 4: Do Not Travel", the first sweeping modification to these guidelines since last year.
The Department cited "COVID risk" as the primary motivation for the advisory and pushed roughly 80% of countries to "reconsider all travel abroad." The advisory will be officially updated later this week. The changes will lead to a "significant increase" in the number of nations facing the Level 4 classification.
Notably, the State Department said in the press release that "this does not imply a reassessment of the current health situation in a given country, but rather reflects an adjustment in the State Department's Travel Advisory system to rely more on CDC's existing epidemiological assessments." Still, COVID represents "unprecedented risks" to Americans seeking to travel abroad.
"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 State Department added.
The State Department just announced it will issue "Level 4: Do Not Travel" advisories for roughly 80% of countries due to Covid-19 risk and urges U.S. citizens to "reconsider all travel abroad." pic.twitter.com/5BpCDKOgLc— Andrew Solender (@AndrewSolender) April 19, 2021
The State Department raised travel advisories for China and other nations hard-hit by COVID last year, but the Biden Administration's latest seems to cut against the growing surge in domestic and international travel as vaccinations have emboldened more Americans to book flights, prompting a significant rebound in air travel. Currently the state department has “Level 3” travel advisories in place for most countries, which urge US citizens to "reconsider travel" though many of those advisories date back as far as August of last year. Earlier this month, we noted that airlines in the US had reached their busiest level in roughly 13 months.