State Department 'Do Not Travel' list adds 80% of countries over pandemic

In a travel advisory update published today, the US Department of State 'strongly' recommended that all citizens 'reconsider' any international travel they have planned. The reason, according to a release from the agency, is the continued presence of SARS-CoV-2 and the risks related to COVID-19. With this update, the State Department will label around 80-percent of countries at 'Level 4: Do Not Travel' risk.

The State Department regularly publishes travel advisories for each country; these advisories include a 'risk' rating from 1 to 4, with four being a severe rating that means 'Do Not Travel.' The agency says that it will spend this week updating its travel advisories to account for the latest CDC Travel Health Notices detailing the risks travelers face in various destinations.

The State Department explains that its updated travel advisories include factors like current travel restrictions in place for US citizens, as well as COVID-19 testing availability in those destinations. The government agency explains:

This does not imply a reassessment of the current health situation in a given country, but rather reflects an adjustment in the State Department's Travel Advisory system to rely more on CDC's existing epidemiological assessments [...] As always, we are closely monitoring conditions around the globe, and will regularly update our destination-specific advice to US travelers as conditions evolve.

These advisories don't mean that US citizens are necessarily banned from visiting these countries (though some destinations may have travel restrictions for incoming visitors). Rather, the information is presented in a simple way for potential travelers to understand any risks they face when visiting a particular country.

The full list of State Department advisories, including when they were last updated, can be found on the agency's website here.