The US State Department has said that it will sharply cut back on "do not travel" advisories for international destinations after public health officials announced a change in how they will assess COVID-19 concerns.
Out of approximately 215 countries and territories that it rates,the department currently lists nearly 120 at "Level Four: Do Not Travel", including much of Europe Japan, Israel and Russia.
The department said that its update "will leave approximately 10% of all travel advisories at Level 4" including all risk factors, not just COVID. "We believe the updated framework will help US citizens make better informed decisions about the safety of international travel," it said in a statement.
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week said that it would shrink from approximately 90 the countries it rates as Level 4, starting Monday 18 April.
Airlines and other travel groups have been pressing the Biden administration to lift the pre-departure COVID negative test requirements for international travelers, as many other countries have done.
Administration officials say that the issue has been under review but health officials have announced no changes.