The U.S. State Department added at least 116 countries this week to its “Level Four: Do Not Travel” advisory list, including Greece, the UK, Canada, France, Israel, Mexico, Germany and others, citing a “very high level of COVID-19.”
On Monday, the State Department had signaled that it would increase the number of countries receiving its highest advisory rating of Level Four to about 80% of countries around the globe.
Before the end of the day on Tuesday, the State Department had added 34 out of about 200 countries worldwide to its “Do Not Travel” list.
However, the State Department now lists a total of 150 countries with the Level Four advisory. Reuters reports that officials from the Department declined to say when the updates would be completed.
On Wednesday the White House announced that it would surpass its goal to administer 200 million coronavirus inoculations by the end of the first 100 days of the Biden Administration.
Now, just over one-half of the American populace of approximately 320 million individuals has received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.
The State Department announced to reporters on Monday that their move did not imply a reassessment of current health situations in certain countries, but instead “reflects an adjustment in the State Department’s Travel Advisory system to rely more on (the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s) existing epidemiological assessments.”
The recommendations are just that — the US will not stop people from traveling to the countries on the list but travelers are “strongly advised against” doing so.
Just this Monday, Greece had opened its borders to Americans and others as part of a pilot program for this travelers who could prove that they had been inoculated, tested positive for the virus or had antibodies against it.
Others on Do Not Travel List include UK, Italy, Sweden, Spain
Other countries on the Level Four “Do Not Travel” list include Finland, Egypt, Belgium, Turkey, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland and Spain. Some countries like China and Japan remain at “Level 3: Reconsider Travel.”
The State Department Advisory says:
“Do not travel to Greece due to COVID-19. Read the Department of State’s COVID-19 page before you plan any international travel.
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for Greece due to COVID-19, indicating a very high level of COVID-19 in the country. Visit the Embassy’s COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 in Greece.
“If you decide to travel to Greece:
“Review the Crime and Safety Report for Greece. U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.”
The move was not a complete broadside, as the majority of Americans were already prevented from traveling to much of Europe because of COVID-19 restrictions. Washington has barred entrance to nearly all non-U.S. citizens who have recently been in most of the countries of Europe, as well as China, Brazil, Iran and South Africa.
On Tuesday, the State Department extended restrictions in place for 13 months that bar non-essential travel over the Canadian and Mexican borders by another 30 days due to upswings in infection rates in both the northern and southern neighbors of the US.
Nick Calio, the head of Airlines for America, a trade group representing major U.S. air carriers, told a U.S. Senate panel on Wednesday that the country’s policymakers needed to find a “road map” to reopening international travel.
Earlier this month, the CDC had said that fully vaccinated people could safely travel within the United States at “low risk,” but director Rochelle Walensky discouraged Americans from doing so because of high coronavirus cases still being recorded nationwide.