You may want to reconsider any plans to travel abroad.
That’s the recommendation from the U.S. State Department, which updated its Travel Advisories list this week warning Americans against foreign travel to include about 80% of countries worldwide.
Calling the risks the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic poses to travelers as “unprecedented,” the State Department said in an April 19 statement that it “strongly recommends U.S. citizens reconsider all travel abroad.”
The department said its advisories will now better reflect Travel Health Notices issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as taking into account factors such as in-country testing availability and travel restrictions on U.S. citizens.
“We believe the updated framework will help Americans make better-informed decisions about the safety of international travel,” said a State Department official. “We are closely monitoring health and safety conditions across the globe, and will continue to update our destination-specific information for U.S. travelers as conditions evolve.”
As a result of the update, some 8 out of 10 nations around the globe are classified as “Level 4: Do Not Travel.” More than 100 countries were recategorized Level 4, including popular destinations such as Canada, France, Mexico and the U.K.
The nations not downgraded to Level 4 are largely in East Asia, Oceania and parts of Africa and the Caribbean.
While many countries in the updated list of Level 4 destinations have their own restrictions against travel by foreigners, some do allow entry by air with proof of vaccination, a negative Covid test or other criteria. Americans may travel to Britain, for example, as long as they test negative within 72 hours before arrival; they must also fill out documentation and quarantine for 10 days.
Mexico, meanwhile, permits air arrivals and has no testing requirements although you may screened or temperature checked at the airport.
The country has remained popular with Americans throughout the pandemic, despite testing or proof of recovery requirements upon return to the U.S.
For example, from the end of 2020 and through February, the Mexican state of Quintana Roo — home to resorts like Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum — welcomed nearly 1 million Americans.
The State Department’s advisories system is comprised of four color-coded levels: Level 1 (blue) – Exercise Normal Precautions; Level 2 (yellow) – Exercise Increased Caution; Level 3 (orange) – Reconsider Travel; and Level 4 (red). The latter is reserved for countries with a “greater likelihood of life-threatening risks” and U.S. citizens are advised not to travel there or to leave as soon as it’s safe to.
All international destinations had been labeled Level 4 at the start of the pandemic last March, but the State Department lifted that advisory in August. Not one nation listed, however, is currently rated Level 1.
The latest Travel Advisory levels can be found on the State Department website at Travel.state.gov.