WASHINGTON D.C.: Citing the need to protect U.S. citizens from contracting the Coronavirus, the U.S. State Department said on April 19 that it would increase its "Do Not Travel" guidance to about 80 percent of countries worldwide.
In a statement, the State Department cited the "unprecedented risk to travelers" from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier, the State Department listed 34 out of some 200 countries as "Level 4: Do Not Travel." These included Chad, Kosovo, Kenya, Brazil, Argentina, Haiti, Mozambique, Russia and Tanzania, among others.
"This update will result in a significant increase in the number of countries at Level 4: Do Not Travel, to approximately 80 percent of countries worldwide," the department said in a statement.
The new list might be as high as an additional 130 countries.
Prior to the new travel guidance, Americans were urged not to travel to large parts of Europe because of COVID-19 concerns.
Also, Washington has barred nearly all non-U.S. citizens who have been in most of Europe, China, Brazil, Iran and South Africa from entering the United States.
There has been no indication by officials as to when the travel guidance might be lifted.
Commenting on the restrictions, Airlines for America, a trade group representing major U.S. airlines, said "The U.S. airline industry has been a strong advocate for the development of a risk-based, data-driven roadmap for restoring international travel."
The group added it continues "to urge the federal government to transparently establish the criteria including clear metrics, benchmarks, and a timeline for reopening international markets."
While the CDC has said that fully vaccinated Americans could travel within the United States, agency director CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said, "We know that right now we have a surging number of cases...We are not recommending travel at this time, especially for unvaccinated individuals."