US Adds “Do Not Travel” Advisory For 137 Countries

Filed Under: Travel

Yesterday there were reports that the United States was in the process of updating guidance to tell Americans not to travel to a vast majority of countries. A full list has now been published broken down by country. In this post I wanted to take a look at that, and also discuss the practical implications of this change.

US adding most countries to “Do Not Travel” list

The US State Department has added a “Do Not Travel” advisory to about 66% of countries/regions worldwide, following “unprecedented risk to travelers” from the coronavirus pandemic.

Specifically, the US State Department puts countries into one of four categories, based on a risk assessment:

  • Level 1 is “exercise normal precautions”
  • Level 2 is “exercise increased caution”
  • Level 3 is “reconsider travel”
  • Level 4 is “do not travel”

So, how significant are these changes?

  • Previously 34 countries were Level 4, while now 137 countries are Level 4
  • With this update, there are only four countries that are Level 1, 21 countries that are Level 2, and 46 countries are Level 3

This change doesn’t imply a reassessment of current health situations in some countries, but instead “reflects an adjustment in the State Department’s Travel Advisory system to rely more on existing epidemiological assessments.”

The Maldives is on the US Level 4 travel advisory list

What are the practical implications of this?

It’s important to understand that there aren’t as many implications to this advisory as there would be in other countries. While other countries create travel lists that impact whether or not you have to quarantine or get tested when traveling, that’s not the case in the US.

In the US this list is purely a recommendation, and you’re free to travel wherever you’d like, for better or worse. However:

  • Some companies may make policies around these recommendations, like not allowing people to travel for business to certain destinations
  • Some travel insurance doesn’t cover travel to countries on a Level 4 advisory, but then again, most travel insurance also doesn’t cover coronavirus-related incidents

Obviously we’re in a tricky situation right now:

  • On the one hand, the US is doing great with vaccinations, and cases and deaths are both way down compared to their peak; while we’re not yet where we need to be, the US is headed in the right direction, and hopefully within a few weeks cases will be down even more as people build immunity
  • On the other hand, cases around the world are on the rise, and worldwide we’re once again approaching some of the highest case numbers of the pandemic

With most of the world being added to a “Do Not Travel” advisory, I can’t help but think that the US may not lift its travel restrictions against other countries in mid-May, as had previously been rumored.

Will the US lift its travel restrictions against other countries anytime soon?

What if you’re vaccinated?

If you’re vaccinated, should you avoid Level 4 countries? It depends who you ask, because the CDC’s communication throughout the pandemic has certainly left a bit to be desired.

The CDC has stated that it’s low risk for vaccinated people to travel, but at the same time still recommends not traveling. So that’s not particularly helpful.

My personal take is that:

  • I’d feel comfortable traveling anywhere when fully vaccinated while continuing to take common sense precautions, since being vaccinated doesn’t just protect me from having a serious case of coronavirus, but also protects others, thanks to the reduced risk of asymptomatic spread
  • There are still many challenges to traveling internationally if you’re vaccinated — your destination could be in lockdown, international transit restrictions are still really complicated, border policies are constantly changing, and you can still test positive for coronavirus, which could potentially strand you in a foreign country for an extended period of time

International travel can be complicated even if vaccinated

Bottom line

The US State Department has added a majority of countries to the Level 4 “Do Not Travel” list. Previously there were 34 countries on the list, while now there are 137 countries on the list. This is purely a recommendation based on the current rise of coronavirus cases we’re seeing in many parts of the world.

Ultimately everyone has to decide for themselves what to do with that information. Personally I’d feel pretty comfortable traveling just about anywhere while being vaccinated, but would of course still take precautions, and be aware of the logistical challenges associated with travel even if vaccinated.

What do you make of this new US travel advisory?

  1. Stupid decision on the part of the USG. They simply fail to understand that compliance with COVID-19 restrictions would be greatly enhanced if people see a light at the end of the tunnel. Right now, they are going in the opposite direction and it is demoralizing and adding fuel to the fire of those pushing an anti-COVID restriction agenda.

    I was in Serbia a few weeks ago and will be going back in the next few weeks.

  2. Your travel insurance is unlikely to cover you if there is a “do not travel” advisory in place.

  3. Companies will also be very reluctant to send their people to countries with a do not travel advisory. Completely self-defeating when American business is trying to recover from last year and need to start making new international sales.

  4. I hope this is a step in the direction of some pragmatism and a more dynamic set of rules & guidance. For example if a country is on the ‘do not travel’ list, then they require a PCR test before flying and quarantine. Countries not on the list don’t require it. A lot of the issue I see today is that the situation changes quickly, but the rules don’t change. Make it easier to travel to Iceland or Australia, and make it harder to fly to India or Brazil. And change these lists regularly depending on the situation.

  5. The hypocrisy is that the US was the pariah of the world just a few months ago. Now that the US and UK, leaders in western vaccine production relative to the size of their populations, are seeing case and death counts plummet, the US wants to call the rest of the world a pariah even while sitting on millions of doses of unapproved vaccines as the rest of the world needs them and has approved them. Individuals Americans decided a long time ago to do what they think is right re: covid; companies and organizations are still following CDC guidance because of legal implications; travel recovery will reflect that reality.

  6. No travel medical insurance will cover you if you voluntarily travel in defiance of a DNT recommendation. No employer will send an employee to such a place.I’d say those are “practical implications”.

  7. This is as silly as requiring vaccinated people to be tested to reenter their own country. Biden/Harris is not off to a particularly good start.

  8. I am amazed at the flippant attitude of people that travel to where ever they want and say “see me”. I spent a number of years in the military and flew in and out of a lot of countries ( third world at the time) witnessed what diseases can do if left unchecked. We are still in the middle of this pandemic with variants popping up around the world. To take the attitude ” I have been vaccinated” so I am go to go is just plain stupid and reckless. Before one spouts this disinformation they should read the data of the current series of vaccines and their longevity before requiring a booster. We as a world need to get vaccines in 65+ percent of the population in order for this to begin to subside.

    Just my opinion as one that has a arm resembling swiss cheese from all the vaccines received in the past 30 years

  9. @K – That actually makes perfect sense. The vaccine is not all of nothing. It reduces your chances to get really sick – and that was the basis they were approved on. But vaccines are not fail-proof against infection, asymptomatic transmission, or efficacy against new strains.

    If you look at the current medical literature you will see plenty of reports of people that were fully vaccinated and still got sick. For anyone who understands how the vaccine works and is approved it is not surprising at all. Biology is not all or nothing, it is gradation. The percentages are small – but when you look at the entire population they are enough.

    Having a simple common sense screening activity to control importing new strains to the USA is something that makes sense now – at least until the rates in other areas of the world will become lower.

  10. Travel insurance is a pretty big implication. Would medical emergencies still be covered if a DNT advisory is in effect? That’s major. Would AmEx insurance still kick in when a DNT order is put in place? The cost of hospitalization due to COVID could do a lot more than ruin your vacation.

  11. “I can’t help but think that the US may not lift its travel restrictions against other countries in mid-May, as had previously been rumored.”

    There is no travel restrictions to US for all the countries worldwide, expect Schengen countries and UK. This is absurd. Everyone in the world can enter US with a simple negative PCR, except europeans! Crazy rules

    PS: Brazil and South Africa (variant reasons) and China and Iran (political reasons) are banned too.

  12. @MDDCFlyer, Biden’s own CDC director said that their own data shows that vaccinated individuals do not spread the virus. Yes, I’m sure there’s a very small risk of breakthrough infections. But I think citizens have a right to reenter their own country under any circumstances. If they want to make people quarantine unnecessarily, then whatever…

    “Vaccinated people do not carry the virus — they don’t get sick,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the CDC, told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Tuesday. That’s “not just in the clinical trials, but it’s also in real-world data.”

    We can travel domestically to COVID hotspots in the USA, freely and frequently, but if we go to a place like Iceland we have to get a test….The whole thing doesn’t make sense to me.

    I also think it’s going to contribute to vaccine hesitancy the more people feel like they can’t get back to regular life. Just my two cents

  13. If we keep ignoring the guidelines and keep traveling like it’s back to normal, the mutated strains will be dominant in US soon and we will start the fight all over again. There are reports coming that the vaccines don’t have the same efficacy on mutated strains especially the double mutated one from India.

  14. US state dept always tend to be more cautious (even before pandemic) so this doesn’t surprise me.

  15. The question is whether your travel insurance has a clause of no coverage in case of an official ‘do not travel’ advisory from the state department.

    The US isn’t the only country in the world where medical bills following an accident or whatever can easily reach a higher five-digit figure..

  16. Fauci and company can’t make up their minds, yet they’re usually wrong anyway. And this business of requiring fully vaccinated people to still act as if they’re unvaccinated is ludicrous. Don’t these idiots in this WH realize that a higher % of the population would get the vaccines if they’re told that they can dispense with the mask and other BS as of 14 days following dose 2? But no, the controls remain in place. Name one other vaccine treated this way. Yellow fever? Hepatitis? Polio? This is totally absurd.

    While I’m at it: what numbskull decided that it’s ok to allow thousands of untested and undocumented people into the country via land borders, but you need a negative test result (in the magical time frame, of course) to fly in from Cancun or anywhere else in the world? Where’s the logic in this? Spoiler alert: there is none.

  17. @K – Unfortunately the CDC Director statement as you quoted is not nuanced enough (not that I expect it to be in such a forum). It is generally true, but not universally true. I understand why the message is what is being portrayed, but it is not 100% accurate.

    Travel within the USA is allowed (and was allowed) only because there is no way of controlling it. Not because it is the smart or right thing to do. At some point of this pandemic if domestic travel could have been controlled the disease was not as rampant as it was.

    I don’t understand your rationale for quarentining everyone as opposed to testing everyone. The latter is much less cumbersome than the former – considering that there is no real mechanism to enforse quarentine (as opposed to other counteies). I will agree though that disallowing citizens to return is not a good policy. However, if someone does travel to a “do not travel” country they should take some resonsibility as well.

  18. @Ed – Completely agree with you. This is a win for the insurance industry as they can now deny claims of those who travel to these countries. It also feels like this is a continuation of the USG’s assault on the cruise industry, again because of the insurance consideration.

    The stupidity of this is that they’re just driving more stir-crazy US citizens to further overcrowd places like Florida and Arizona which will almost inevitably result in further spread of COVID-19 in the US amongst the ~50% of the population that either hasn’t been able to get vaccinated or is vaccine hesitant. Scott Kirby was on CNBC this AM saying he wondered where everyone flying to Florida was going to stay based on the volume of PAX he didn’t think there was enough hotel capacity, his conclusion was “Thank God for Airbnb”.

  19. Can you imagine ANYONE listening to these clowns anymore?

    Fauci is telling people not to travel after being vaccinated(!!!) (removing reasons to get vaccinated)

    The government is telling people different stuff, and keep being wrong.
    Texas opens up fully, 6 weeks later… cases down 70%…

    All of these government and health experts, are worthless. Just worthless.

    Traveling full time, internationally, right now.
    Not going to stop, and don’t care what discredited health ‘experts’ keep squawking about.

    What a gong show.

  20. People should see this for what it is, a change in values by a new administration in terms of role of regulatory authority. Give State department credit for not dressing this decision up as based on new science. The policy change does not impact non-US passport holders entering from other countries, many that now have higher COVID infection rates than the US. This primarily impacts US citizens. It is federal government telling you what is best for you. That is well within their authority. Some would argue it is a responsibility of government. If you don’t like it, you have recourse – vote them out of office. 18 months to mid term elections….

  21. “It’s important to understand that there aren’t many practical implications to this advisory” – this may be one of the most misleading sentences you’ve ever written on this page, Ben.

    As others have pointed out: 1) potentially significant implications for travel insurance 2) Lots of companies, universities and other organizations don’t allow travel to countries at Level 4.

    Check out from your privelege for a just a second…

  22. So. Much. Reflexive. Whining.

    If you don’t want to travel, don’t travel.

    My second shot is April 29, and 2 weeks later I’m headed to whatever country will take me!

  23. Science and objective facts can be inconvenient sometimes. As much as I’m looking forward to traveling overseas like everyone else, I am grateful to see this update. Far too many arrogant pricks act like they’re 100% bullet-proof and ignore all reasonable public safety mandates (including plenty of those who proudly announce that they have not and will not ever get the vaccine). Waiting a little longer for your vacation isn’t going to kill any of us — but jetting off to Zanzibar absolutely will. Be a responsible adult (I know, an unrealistic expectation).

    I’m thankful for the current administration’s wise leadership. More, please.

  24. This is the State Department’s job…assess risk and make recommendations to protect US citizens. You are still free to travel.

    If travel insurance companies deny claims based on the State Department guidelines, good for them. People need to stop this “I should be able to do whatever I want” stuff and then get mad when there’s “consequences”, as if it is a violation of rights. You want to travel to a highly infected place with a “Do Not Travel” recommendation, then go ahead. But if you get sick and travel insurance doesn’t pay, it’s your fault, not anyone else’s.

  25. @K – the vaccines are showing about 90% efficacy in the real world – that’s down about 5% from the clinical trials. This means that for every 10 people vaccinated, there’s a very good likelihood that 1 of them will get the virus and get sick (though not as sick as compared to a non-vaccinated person). And, for the other 9, they can still carry the virus. Yes, the risk is low, but it’s still there, and we know this virus has killed nearly 600,000 Americans. Even if I knew that every one of the 300 people on a plane were vaccinated, I’d still be worried – there’s a good likelihood that 30+ of them could be carrying the virus (and they could even be symptomatic!). The CDC states, “The risks of SARS-CoV-2 infection in fully vaccinated people cannot be completely eliminated as long as there is continued community transmission of the virus. Vaccinated people could potentially still get COVID-19 and spread it to others (April 2, 2021).” Fauci made this clear two days ago when he was interviewed on Meet the Press: “[W]hat happens is that you might get infected and get absolutely no symptoms, not know you’re infected, and then inadvertently go into a situation with vulnerable people. And if you don’t have a mask, you might inadvertently infect them.” Inconvenient as it might be, we still need sensibile mitigation and testing efforts in place, even for those vaccinated Americans returning to the States.

  26. Has anyone checked out the updated list? India remains at Level 2 (exercise caution) while, for instance, Aruba, Bermuda, Barbados and Mexico are now listed as Level 4 (do not travel). Scanning the list, many (if not most) of countries within geographic proximity to the continental US are now at level 4. Obviously, there is no way of telling for sure, but in appearance this seems to be partly a concerted effort to discourage cross border tourism to places where most US travelers are likely to go. The EU is almost all at Level 3 but US tourism to this market, with some exceptions, is not possible at the moment.

  27. Absolutely xenophobic and racist!!?!

    Wait… orange man is gone. Never mind.

    It’s pragmatic and sensible.

  28. So I don’t know if anyone actually looked at the updated list for at least 2 minutes, but it seems like Mexico and a good amount of Central America/Caribbean and Africa got put into level 4, with some asian countries making the list.

    I am surprised that UAE got lv4 considering they have the best testing per capita in the world and is also one of the best vaccinated on the world. Uncle Joe is probably racist if UAE is a 4 while France is still a 3. Anyways.

    Most of Europe is still in Lv3, which is good if we are trending towards mutual reopening.

  29. LOL! LOL! As a taxpayer, I hope this update is not yet complete (although ton of countries are updated). India is a Level 2! Same as Australia. Repeat after me. India is number 2! India is number 2! India is number 2! India is number 2! Uncle Joe, time to wake up from your nap…..

  30. This is NOT the updated list. If you read the blog post carefully, you will note that Ben says “The US State Department has said that it will add a “Do Not Travel” advisory to about 80% of countries worldwide, following “unprecedented risk to travelers” from the coronavirus pandemic.”

    “It will” means that these changes have not happened YET. The list which is linked above is NOT the list which will put 80% of the world on a “do not travel” recommendation. We are going to have to wait and see what that will look like.

    It is also worth noting that Joe Biden is NOT in charge of the crafting of this list. The U.S. State Department is. One hopes that the State Department will have metrics for determining which countries are levels 1, 2, 3, and 4 and will apply them.

    If the State Department wants to go for the A+, they will publish those metrics so that U.S. citizens can understand the list is not arbitrary and make informed choices based on their own risk analysis. I’m sure the list will still be imperfect, as we are counting on a wide variety of nations to do their own data collection, but it would still be nice to get a sense of how these decisions are being made.

  31. @BookLvr, good point in terms of waiting for updates to be complete. But even if it was Level 2 yesterday there’s something rotten Denmark. Hard to argue we’ve been giving taxpayers good advice when news leads everyday with sad COVID carnage stories from India. A long list of countries have flat out banned people from India. Seems we are just a bit late, again. As for whether this is Uncle Joe’s list, it is. That is how leadership works. Don’t think anyone mentioned to someone in white house that changing a country rating on the most populous democracy in the world might complicate other policy discussions? That would be truly incompetent.

  32. While I agree that this can be senseless and confusing there are also potential things that the government knows but doesn’t want to say and thus panic the population. Mostly I would imagine in the case of variants. We still don’t know what could develop and Biden is often mentioning (I assume for a reason that he knows) that there will be more viruses coming. Will it stop me, of course not. Nor do I imagine will it others. But the Govt is throwing out these things as a sort of disclaimer should a variant emerge somewhere that is able to skirt the vaccine. Because, let’s face it, It’s going to happen sooner rather than later. And we are all going to need to learn to live with this reality – most likely forever.

  33. Snoooooze. I’ll do what I want. I’m fully vaccinated. I did what I want before. Not going to put my life on hold for this. Could care less what the CDC or government says. The rest of you can stay home and worry about the next variant. I certainly won’t.

  34. @miamiorbust LOL! I don’t believe India is at Level 2! OMG! Meanwhile, I live in Denmark (average of 700 cases and 2 deaths per day – Level 3 (???) ) and I can’t enter America to visit family, but Indians can. This is so crazy and absurd! Wake up, Mr. Fauci!!

  35. Come on down to New Zealand or Australia. Do your 2 weeks quarantine and spend the next 3 months skiing, tramping, boating, and living a normal life. We would love having anybody here to spend some money as tourism has been decimated. I saw some Air New Zealand cabin crew in the supermarket yesterday and it actually made me smile, happy to see them at work and hoping I can travel again. Even better wait till sept/oct and spend three months in both countries in summertime. Given you are sitting in a hotel for the first 2 weeks it would have to be a long trip to make the time worthwhile.

  36. @Murray
    I would love to visit but it is my understanding that both countries are closed to tourists. I have also read that it is even difficult for Australian citizens to return due to lack of space in the quarantine hotels. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

  37. Malawi has been downgraded by US State Department to level 4 today, supposedly due to COVID.

    There were 9 new cases recorded yesterday in a population of 20+ million (of which 1 was detected by testing at the border and sent straight to quarantine), with a total of 12 symptomatic cases currently hospitalized nationwide. The 7-day average of new infections is 11 people per day and the positivity rate for tests conducted is below 3%. It ain’t New Zealand, but its pretty much as normal as you can get in a country whose borders are open to travelers with PCR tests. In comparison, even Australia had 37 new cases yesterday in a similar sized population.

    Ironically, CDC has rated Malawi as level 3 – so a strange situation where the State Department claims that the situation is more serious than CDC does. In fact, using CDC’s published evaluation criteria which takes into account number of per-capita tests, positivity rate and new infections per capita, Malawi is on track to be level 1 if the current situation persists for another 10 days – yet State somehow sees it as needing to be downgraded to level 4.

  38. One thing I can tell… The same person using different pseudonym are writing comments here today. Not so hard to figure out if you know how to look 🙂

    Here is the problem with people and their interpretation of science. People assume that when statiscians come up with a set of data then that data must be absolutely true and true for all days to come. It never occurs to them that data is like the tide. It changes every day. CDC saying vaccinated people do not transmit covid is true on the day the statistics were parsed out. Considering how little data there is you can’t possibly come up with a definitive conclusion about covid in any meaningful way.

    And the moment that data changes and you have to update your summary, the average joe in this country (who has the science understanding capacity of a turtle) will lose it. They cannot handle information changing by the day. They cannot handle rules changing. Look at how people are reacting to this news and its not even a big deal. People freak the heck out when their counties go back into restrictions even though it may be a meh restriction. But the moment you have to change something people freak out.

    Consider how screwed up we would be right now if we didn’t dole out as many vaccines.

    Oh and by the way, yeah you got your 2 shots. Fantastic. How do you know you actually have 95% protection. Thats just an average assuming the shots were good. What if you got a dud that wasn’t caught? They can’t do case studies for every type of condition.

    So stop with the absolutes people.

  39. I’m getting shot 2 on Thursday and the mask is coming off. I’m finished with stay at home shmay at home. You’re status will continue to be extended I but have the EQDs. I’m ahead of you on the upgrade lists.

  40. BookLvr – I see many, many countries were updated today. So it’s looking promising.

    They didn’t get an A+ like requested. Not surprised.

  41. “On the one hand, the US is doing great with vaccinations, and cases and deaths are both way down compared to their peak” Might be worth noting that daily new covid cases are up 23% in the US compared to what they were a month ago and hospitalizations are up 10% from a month ago. Daily new cases in the US are higher than they were at anytime last spring or summer, so down from the peak while technically true because of the post holiday spike isn’t all that impressive.

  42. @Alan

    Wow you are right I just checked the immigration website see below. I thought pretty much anyone could still come (India is off the list at since last week). problem is getting a spot on the quarantine list which seems pretty hard as new Zealanders are still coming back from overseas and sports teams/entertainers/businessmen/trades etc get first dibs over tourists . At least unlike Australia we can leave New Zealand if we want but, getting back is 2 weeks in a hotel and some $nz3500. I do not think we can even self-isolate at home

  43. @Sean M. What do you have against Australia? The Department of Health statistics as of 11 am on 21 April are stated as follows: 0 locally acquired cases in the past 24 hours and 2 locally acquired cases in the past 7 days (the cases having been acquired in the hotel quarantine setting and not in the general community); 15 overseas acquired cases in the past 24 hours and 113 overseas acquired cases in the past 7 days (all of which remain in mandatory hotel quarantine). The reason the New Zealand – Australia travel bubble has been implemented is because both nations have a similar approach to the virus and transmission appears to be confined to returned travellers (admittedly with the occasional breach).

  44. @K – “Biden’s own CDC director said that their own data shows that vaccinated individuals do not spread the virus.”

    Why do people always quote the CDC director and then quite conveniently fail to mention that the spokesperson for the CDC quickly walked back that statement?

    @Ben – “ The CDC has stated that it’s low risk for vaccinated people to travel, but at the same time still recommends not traveling. So that’s not particularly helpful.”

    I don’t know why you keep saying that. It’s quite simple:
    “Sure, go ahead.”
    “You’ll probably be ok, but don’t do it if you don’t have to.” ⬅️ We are here
    “Dear God, don’t do it!”

  45. You are going to see more lobbying from the vacation/travel industry in the US because they want Americans and the rest of the world to come to the US instead of going somewhere else. What does that mean? A lot more contradictory statements and warnings coming in the future.

  46. Sounds like the US government is trying to protect US nationals and residents in USA both with regulations and a vaccination program .
    Honestly , USA is a great place for domestic holidays , why does anyone need to go overseas, just be patient for a few years .
    If you look at other countries, be thankful that you live in the USA, because many countries are not helping citizens as much and there are many problems.

  47. This list is very political based. There are a number of countries that are doing an excellent job to control the virus that are of higher alert status.

  48. I currently fail to see a logical connection between countries on the “do not travel” list and those with inbound travel restrictions to the US. All combinations seem to be possible.

  49. @John….that is the key. Check with your potential travel insurance provider on coverage. There will be companies that provide coverage. Might be a little more, but there are a few companies that provide cancel for any reason coverage and one that even covers war, terrorism and kidnapping. Yes, many may not cover level 4 travel advisory, but some will.

  50. At least Americans can leave and re enter their country freely.
    Unlike Australia, which is the only country that bans it’s own citizens from leaving.
    Absolutely shameful and disgraceful.
    The Australian government has also imposed ridiculous arrival caps , which as a result, has left over 40,000 expat Aussies being stranded overseas, and airlines charging exorbitant amounts for airfares. (And flights coming into Australia are very limited too)
    And finally, the incompetent Australian government has also screwed up the entire vaccine rollout (Over promised, under delivered)

  51. At this point, we should just do a list of countries we can travel to. And there’s only two at Level 1: New Zealand and Bhutan. lol

  52. For those of us with Global Entry, is anyone worried about travelling to a Category 4 country and having your Global Entry revoked? I would hope not, but having Global Entry is based on the premise you are pre-screened and low risk. If you start travelling to State Dept. Category 4 countries they might reassess your risk level and eligibility. I hadn’t thought about this, but on FT someone raised this issue and it got me thinking.

  53. @Joe Chivas

    I really hope you are being sarcastic. Planes are arriving daily from India which has become the epicenter of the pandemic. A flight recently arrived in Hong Kong from India which ended up with 47 passengers having covid so pre departure testing is not fullproof on flights from India. Why are flights from India to the US still permitted to bring anyone yet passengers from China are still banned? This is a complete lack of leadership.

  54. @Alan, your sarcasm detector may need new batteries.

    @Brian, No. These aren’t prohibitions, they’re advisories. Anyone who thinks their Global Entry is at risk is a fool.

  55. @Reaper

    I was actually concerned about those batteries. I’m just dumbfounded that anyone would believe Biden is showing strong leadership with respect to covid. Countries with explosions in cases need to be banned to prevent variants and states with escalating numbers like Michigan need intervention. Just my opinion!

  56. Yes, clearly it is much safer to travel to Benin and Mauritania (level 2) than it is to visit Canada, Costa Rica or Greece (level 4). This is a disgrace and they will lose all credibility with these ratings if this isn’t updated.

  57. @MDDC: “If you look at the current medical literature you will see plenty of reports of people that were fully vaccinated and still got sick.”

    Yes, there are plenty of these reports – but that’s because plenty of people have been vaccinated. There was an article a while back that compared the risk of breakthrough infection to everyday risks, and it turns out it’s comparable to the risk of getting into a car accident. In other words, it’s not something that’s really worth worrying about.

    @Ralph4878: “the vaccines are showing about 90% efficacy in the real world – that’s down about 5% from the clinical trials. This means that for every 10 people vaccinated, there’s a very good likelihood that 1 of them will get the virus and get sick”

    No, that is NOT what 90% efficacy means. 90% efficacy means that if you compare some large number of unvaccinated and vaccinated people over time, 90% fewer vaccinated than unvaccinated people will get infected. Let’s say that out of 10,000 people, 500 unvaccinated people get infected. If a vaccine has 90% efficacy, then 90% fewer vaccinated people should get infected – i.e., in this example, 50 out of 10,000 vaccinated people. So, the chances of getting infected are MUCH lower than 10%: 50 out of 10,000 is 0.5%. (This is just an example – the actual chance of getting infected depends on your exposure, which in turn depends on the rate at which other people are infected and whether they’re vaccinated, etc etc.)

  58. And with no sense of irony, State rates China lowest risk and Germany, England, and Italy highest risk.

  59. @snic Well, we do worry about car accidents. That’s why we have things like seat belts, air bags, etc.

    But I agree with your point–we don’t say that people shouldn’t drive all together. There is still a small risk that vaccinated people can get sick, so we should encourage/help/force(?) them to travel safely. I feel like this approach of adding most of the world’s countries to the “do not travel” list is similar to abstinence only education. People are going to travel this summer. We gave the airlines a bunch of money, and now they are starting new flights to any country that will take Americans. Now we need to encourage Americans to travel more safely.

  60. I understand that The Seychelles are closing in on 70% of the population vaccinated, yet its level 4 – bizarre

  61. @NK3 – exactly! The blanket “Level 4 – DO NOT TRAVEL!!!!” warnings are not helpful. Far more helpful would be a set of precautions everyone should take, including how to decide based on a country’s health situation (emergency rooms are full, vaccination rates, etc) whether one should choose to travel there at all. Give people the information they need to make a decision themselves, rather than slapping countries with ominous labels without good explanations.

  62. The is all just more fear mongering from Papa Joe. Papa Joe knows he will lose some of his power as the pandemic wains and knows the mismanaged of the crisis by Trump is the main reason he was elected. Common sense ended long ago with this pandemic.

    Seriously, I still see folks riding bikes with facemasks, and scared to take of a mask in a meeting where all are vaccinated…….exactly the folks Papa Joe gets his power from and he is scared to lose it.

  63. “the US is headed in the right direction,” What are you even talking about? Cases and hospitalizations are going up in the US significantly. Outside of the period from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, Michigan, Pennsylvania and New Jersey haven’t seen levels this high during the pandemic. And outside of that same holiday period, New York hasn’t had this many new cases since spring, and Florida not since the summer. We are most certainly NOT heading in the right direction. The US is heading into another surge and the states where cases haven’t dramatically increased can expect the variants to sweep in and infect them just like happened in prior surges.

  64. I was looking at the US Gvmt site early this morning. Very misleading as many countries on the list don’t even speak of Covid. Safety and crime seems to be a motivating factor. Of course we have known this all along, and OBTW, wouldn’t it just be “great” if everyone just stayed home and spent their money in the good ole USA?

  65. @JD
    And it keeps the Embassy from receiving midnight calls when an idiot American does something stupid. Not the Embassy will actually do very much but one less call is still a good enough reason.

  66. @Bill post above…LOL.
    Complete & utter hysteria…so sad that he is posting brain wash comments. #COWARD!
    Look in the mirror Bill…it’s not pretty. Pls climb back into your bunker (while wearing two masks of course)

  67. Is this a joke? Ugly Americans is always ugly Americans, although the covid infection rate in the US has dropped but still many new cases daily. If Americans stop traveling to other countries they won’t be infected with Corona, as well, they won’t spread virus to other countries do do yourself and other countries a favor, stay in the US please until covid is ended.

  68. This has got to be the strangest list. Countries like Taiwan, New Zealand, and Australia are at level 3 but they are well known to have no domestic covid cases (with occasional flare ups) and just import cases which are mostly caught during hotel quarantine period. Shouldn’t they be level 1 or perhaps 2 at most? And then you have countries like Zimbabwe which is literally next door to South Africa at level 2?! Or Rwanda at level 2 which is right next to “we can pray covid away” Tanzania!? Does this list make any logical sense at all?

  69. @Joeboo The numbers don’t lie dude. You would think with 569,000+ Americans dead from this virus people would wise up but apparently not.

  70. What a joke. The UK is level 4 because of a “very high rate of Covid-19”. Really? Our cases here have plummeted, we are reopening, our vaccination rate is better than the US, and the percentage of adults is higher too?

    Under their own criteria, the US should be level 4 too.

  71. Well, credit to State Department. I ranted a bit on Tuesday about their decision to downgrade Malawi to Level 4 despite near negligible COVID levels lately, but they have quickly reversed that and moved Malawi back into Level 3 in line with the CDC recommendations.

  72. Always remember, these guidelines are made by bureaucrats. They are by nature risk averse. They have little skin in the game. They don’t have businesses to run. Not many of them have family or aging parents who live abroad, that they haven’t seen in a long time. Status quo is their comfort zone. Tese are “guidelines.” Take them for what they are.

  73. The amount of ignorance and disinformation in these comments is reassuring. Reassuring that I’m competing against a slew of morons for award space. I have never liked my odds more.

  74. This list is quite ridiculous it just doesn’t make sense…

    Level 2: Palau, South Korea, Thailand (really? Palau has zero cases since the start of the pandemic and compare to South Korea that has 500-700 daily cases and Thailand over 1000 cases per day)

    Level 3: Iceland, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Taiwan, Australia. All these countries has less cases per day than South Korea or Thailand. Hong Kong about 0 to 3 local cases per day, same with the others mostly imported.

    Level 4: Macau? (Is this a joke? Since the pandemic Macau only had a total of 49 cases and 0 deaths)

  75. Ok, so when Dept of State will add India to the travel ban list, together with Brazil, South Africa, UK and Schengen countries? This is urgent, come on!

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