More Than 100 Destinations Have Been Added to the State Department's "Do Not Travel" List

And this is just the beginning

Female traveller standing in front of Flight display schedule in the International airport
Virojt Changyencham / Getty Images

Over the weekend, the U.S. reached a milestone in vaccination numbers—over a quarter of the population is officially fully vaccinated, and 40 percent more have received at least one dose. While it may feel like you can finally take that vacation you’ve been waiting for—or at least be less anxious about traveling—the experts aren’t letting up on travel advisories.

In fact, they’re doubling down. On Monday, April 19, the State Department announced they would be making some major changes to their travel advisory list—but not in the direction travelers were hoping for. “This update will result in a significant increase in the number of countries at Level 4: Do Not Travel, to approximately 80 percent of countries worldwide,” the agency said.

By Tuesday, over 100 new destinations had been slapped with the “Level 4: Do Not Travel” label. Wait, aren't things supposed to be getting better? Why the big change? “This does not imply a reassessment of the current health situation in a given country," the State Department explained, "but rather reflects an adjustment in the State Department’s Travel Advisory system to rely more on CDC’s existing epidemiological assessments.”

For weeks, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has been urging Americans to avoid non-essential travel, citing an overall climb in COVID-19 numbers in the United States and abroad.

Then, on April 2, during a White House COVID-19 press briefing, Walensky announced an update to the CDC travel guidelines based on new data surrounding the efficacy of vaccines—fully vaccinated travelers were given the official go-ahead to resume traveling “at low risk to themselves.”

However, for anyone who interpreted the update as the CDC giving their blessing to restart travel, especially for fully vaccinated travelers, you might want to keep holding your breath. “We haven’t changed our guidance for non-essential travel at all,” Walensky said during the Q&A portion of the briefing. “We are not recommending travel at this time, especially for unvaccinated individuals.”

Perhaps putting their restrictions where their mouths are, that same day, the CDC added over 130 destinations to its highest “Level 4: COVID-19 Very High” COVID-19 travel recommendations list, advising against all travel to these destinations.

Currently, the total number of destinations in this category stands at a whopping 141, while 18 countries are categorized as “Level 3: COVID-19 High” destinations where travelers should avoid all non-essential travel.

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