The U.S. State Department today announced how they will interact with the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) about adjusting US travel advisories to foreign countries in regards to COVID and other health threats.
Ned Price, spokesperson of the US Department of State today explained: ” You may have seen yesterday that the CDC announced changes to their COVID-19 Travel Health Notice system. We here at the Department of State have also reassessed how COVID-19 considerations factor into our Travel Advisory levels for U.S. citizens.
Starting next week, the State Department Travel Advisory levels will no longer automatically correlate with the CDC COVID-19 Travel Health Notice level.
However, if the CDC raises a country to a Level 4 for COVID-19, or if COVID-19-related restrictions threaten to strand, isolate, or otherwise seriously affect U.S. citizens, the State Department’s Travel Advisory for that country will also be raised to a Level 4, or Do Not Travel.
The updated framework will significantly reduce the level – the number of Level 4 Travel Advisories, and we believe it will help U.S. citizens make better-informed decisions about the safety of international travel at this time.
We encourage U.S. citizens planning international travel this summer, or any other time, to check their passport expiration date. Act now to renew or apply for the first time. Keep in mind that many countries do require passports to have at least six months of remaining validity for entry. Routine passport processing, as we have warned, can take eight to 11 weeks.
We also encourage U.S. citizens to stay connected with us via travel.state.gov and through our @travel.gov social media accounts, and to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, or STEP, to receive timely alerts about evolving health and safety conditions.
The World Tourism Network had argued against combining travel warnings against other countries only on COVID-19 threats. WTN argued from the beginning of the COVID outbreak, there should be two different warning sections to avoid confusion. At some times the US State Department treated Germany on the same level as North Korea in travel warnings, which seemed to be unreasonable.
“The adjustments made by the US State Department today is a first long overdue step and will help the international travel and tourism industry to generate business with American travelers, ” said Juergen Steinmetz, chairman of the World Tourism Network.