On Monday, the U.S. State Department had issued “Level 4: Do Not Travel” warnings for 16 percent of countries around the world. Today, that number is jumping up to 80 percent of all countries around the world, in accordance with CDC guidance. And while just over 75 million Americans have been vaccinated, the CDC and State Department are still warning against travel, especially internationally.
So, what’s going on? According to an email sent to The Washington Post, “This alignment better reflects the current, unpredictable, and ever-evolving threat posed by COVID-19.” The missive goes on to say that American citizens — vaccinated or not — should “strongly reconsider” all trips abroad or cancel them outright.
Issuing travel warnings is nothing new for the State Department. They have four levels. Level One says simply “Exercise Normal Precautions.” Level two warns you to “Exercise Increased Caution.” Level three asks you to “Reconsider Travel.” And Level Four straight out says “Do Not Travel.” With 80 percent of the world’s countries now falling under the Level Four warning, it’s pretty clear that the lion’s share of travel by Americans this summer is going to be tied to the U.S.
The change in tactics, according to The Washington Post, is due to the State Department starting to “rely more heavily” on recommendations from the CDC again. The State Department is even adding stricter wording to some travel locations. The warning for travel to India came with an additional caveat that “even if you’re fully vaccinated” that you should still cancel your trip.
These warnings track with current CDC information on vaccines and travel, in which they stated: “Fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to get and spread COVID-19. However, international travel poses additional risks and even fully vaccinated travelers are at increased risk for getting and possibly spreading new COVID-19 variants.”
Of course, that doesn’t mean that some countries aren’t trying to woo travelers to their shores. Iceland has opened up to American travelers as long as they can provide a vaccination certificate and negative test before entry (and also adhere to hygiene and social distancing rules). Still, it’s probably a much safer bet to look towards your own backyard for summer ’21, even if you’re vaccinated.
(Via The Washington Post)