US State Department eases travel restrictions for dozens of countries

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The US State Department has eased travel restrictions for dozens of countries including Japan, France, Spain and Mexico.

At least 58 countries and territories have been taken off the highest level 4 “Do Not Travel” list, and moved down to the level 3 category urging US citizens to “Reconsider Travel” to those locations.

In a statement to the media, a spokesperson said: “The Department of State has no greater responsibility than the safety and security of US citizens overseas. As conditions evolve, we regularly update our advice to US travellers.”

Another 27 countries and territories have been moved down from level 3 to the first two levels, which mandate that travellers exercise increased caution or regular safety precautions.

Other countries that are no longer in the “Do Not Travel” category include Italy, Greece, Switzerland and Canada.

The new travel advisories by the State Department come in the wake of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) changes to its own travel health notices. The CDC said it had updated its criteria “to better differentiate countries with severe outbreak situations from countries with sustained, but controlled, Covid-19 spread.” Sixty-two places were recategorised as a result from the highest warning to the second-highest.

[Delta variant of the coronavirus now accounts for over 6% of all U.S. infections]

For countries in the second-highest warning level, the CDC says, any non-essential travel should be avoided by unvaccinated travellers. Anyone visiting these places should be fully vaccinated.

Thirty-four places were moved to the “low” Covid-19 risk level and another 15 were moved to the “moderate” level by the CDC.

The State Department’s travel advisories in part use the CDC’s notices to come up with their own guidelines. But the department said that it also “considers other factors including coronavirus-related travel restrictions, crime and terrorism.”

Source: The independent