The Department of State said on Monday that it will significantly increase the number of countries on its “Do Not Travel” advisory list to the tune of 80 percent of the nations worldwide due to risks associated with the pandemic of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus, commonly known as the coronavirus.
The list had already featured 34 countries flagged under the “Level 4: Do Not Travel” advisory, including countries like Russia, Brazil, Argentina, Chad, Kosovo, Kenya, Haiti, Mozambique, and Tanzania. Boosting the number to 80 percent of all nations would imply expanding the list to include roughly 130 countries.
“This update will result in a significant increase in the number of countries at Level 4: Do Not Travel, to approximately 80% of countries worldwide,” the department said in a statement.
The State Department said that the new advisory “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,” rather than a reassessment of current health situations in some countries.
CCP virus restriction in Europe had already prevented most Americans from traveling there. Washington has barred nearly all non-U.S. citizens who have recently been in most of Europe, China, Brazil, Iran, and South Africa.
The White House has given no timeline for when it might ease the restrictions.
Asked for comment on the State Department announcement, Airlines for America, a trade group representing major U.S. carriers, said “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 that it continues “to urge the federal government to transparently establish the criteria—including clear metrics, benchmarks, and a timeline—for reopening international markets.”
CDC did not immediately comment.
Earlier this month, the CDC said people who are fully vaccinated against the CCP virus can safely travel within the United States at “low risk” but CDC Director Rochelle Walensky discouraged Americans from doing so because of high coronavirus cases nationwide.
“We know that right now, we have a surging number of cases. I would advocate against general travel overall,” Walensky said on April 2. “We are not recommending travel at this time, especially for unvaccinated individuals.”
Reuters contributed to this report.