International

Coronavirus | U.S. to boost 'Do Not Travel' advisories to 80% of world

The U.S. Department of State building in Washington. File   | Photo Credit: AFP

The U.S. State Department said on Monday it will boost its “Do Not Travel” guidance to about 80% of countries worldwide, citing “unprecedented risk to travellers” from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“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.

The State Department already listed 34 out of about 200 countries as “Level 4: Do Not Travel,” including places like Chad, Kosovo, Kenya, Brazil, Argentina, Haiti, Mozambique, Russia and Tanzania. Getting to 80% would imply adding nearly 130 countries.

Travel is also discouraged for the remaining 20%, though not as emphatically. It says people with plans to visit those countries should reconsider before proceeding.

The department did not reveal which countries will fall under which category. That will become known as guidance is issued individually for each country in the coming week.

Most Americans were already prevented from travelling to much of Europe because of COVID-19 restrictions. Washington has barred nearly all non-U.S. citizens who have recently been inmost of Europe, China, Brazil, Iran and South Africa.

The State Department said 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.”

CDC did not immediately comment.

The United States hasn't had a global advisory warning against international travel since August, when guidance was revoked by the Trump administration.

Earlier this month, the CDC said people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can safely travel within the United States at “low risk” but CDC Director Rochelle Walensky discouraged Americans from doing so because of high coronavirus cases nationwide.

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

(With inputs from AP)

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Printable version | May 10, 2021 6:24:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/us-will-boost-do-not-travel-advisories-to-80-of-world/article34363840.ece

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