The US State Department yesterday (April 19) announced that it would apply its ‘Level 4 – Do Not Travel’ status to almost 130 countries, or roughly 80 per cent of the world. Most of the world was already at the second-highest alert – ‘Level 3- Reconsider Travel’ warning, with Level 4 only applied to 34 countries which present “unprecedented risk to travellers,” including Argentina, Brazil and Russia.
“This update will result in a significant increase in the number of countries at Level 4: Do Not Travel, to approximately 80 per cent of countries worldwide,” the State Department said in a statement, but also asserted that the decision to substantially expand the list of no-go countries does not imply a reassessment of the 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.”
The US already barred most Americans from travelling to Europe because of Covid-19 restrictions, while Washington, DC excludes virtually all non-US citizens who’ve visited Europe.
Reuters reported that the Airlines for America, a trade group representing major U.S. carriers, responded to the State Department’s move by saying, “the U.S. airline industry has been a strong advocate for the development of a risk-based, data-driven roadmap for restoring international travel.”
The group added it continues “to urge the federal government to transparently establish the criteria – including clear metrics, benchmarks, and a timeline – for reopening international markets.”