With much of the world still struggling to contain and control the spread of COVID-19, the US Department of State is strongly advising that Americans reconsider their travel abroad.
The Department of State announced that it will begin updating its travel advisories this week, which will see roughly 80% of countries’ advisories at Level 4: Do Not Travel.
On August 6, 2020, the department announced it was lifting a Global Level 4 Health Advisory, which was put in place on March 19, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and advised citizens against all international travel. However, as the pandemic continues a year later and more people begin to once again travel, the department notes that travelers still face risks associated with COVID-19.
The changes will be made in order to “better reflect the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) science-based Travel Health Notices that outline current issues affecting travelers’ health,” according to a statement. The advisories will take into account factors like the availability of testing and the current travel restrictions for US travelers.
This may help to clear up confusion for travelers, as the CDC maintains its own system of travel advisories for countries. For example, the CDC notes that travelers should avoid all travel to the Bahamas, and even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants. However, the State Department website only currently lists the Bahamas at Level 3: Reconsider Travel.
Earlier in April, the CDC announced new guidelines that would allow for domestic travel for vaccinated Americans. The new public health recommendations were based on the fact that fully vaccinated people are less likely to contract and spread the virus, and can therefore travel domestically without the need to get tested before or after a trip, or self-quarantine afterwards.
Find the latest State Department travel advisory levels here.
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