State Department Warns Against International Travel Amid ‘Unprecedented’ COVID Risk

The State Department Monday announced updated travel advisories meant to better reflect Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance that “will result in a significant increase in the number of countries at Level 4: Do Not Travel, to approximately 80% of countries worldwide.”

“This does not imply a reassessment of the current health situation in a given country, but rather reflects an adjustment in the State Department’s Travel Advisory system to rely more on CDC’s existing epidemiological assessments,” the state department noted.

The travel advisories take into account risks to traveler’s health, as well as logistical factors, including in-country testing availability and current travel restrictions for U.S. citizens, according to the department.

The announcement comes as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to “pose unprecedented risks to travelers,” and the world continues to struggle with the pandemic that’s caused more than 3 million deaths worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

“In light of those risks, the Department of State strongly recommends U.S. citizens reconsider all travel abroad,” the department continued.

According to Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus resource center, 143,022,878 cases have been reported globally, with the U.S. reporting the most cases at 31,793,509, followed by India, Brazil, France, Russia, the U.K, Turkey, Italy, Spain, and Germany.

“As always, we are closely monitoring conditions around the globe, and will regularly update our destination-specific advice to U.S. travelers as conditions evolve,” the state department noted.

 For the latest Travel Advisory levels, visit the state department’s website.

In other news:

  • Dallas County Monday reported 502 more COVID-19 cases and 13 additional deaths (including data from Saturday and Sunday), and 282 more cases and another 13 deaths Tuesday. Among the deaths reported Monday was a person who received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, but was on immunosuppressant medication, and among the deaths reported Tuesday were a 19-year-old Dallas man, a Dallas woman in her 30s who was found dead at her home, and a Dallas man in his 40s who was found dead at his home.
  • Scientists at the Texas A&M University Global Health Research Complex this week announced they identified a new variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 known as BV-1, named for Brazos Valley, the seven-county region of Texas where Texas A&M is located. Scientists say they identified one case of the variant in a student. 
  • Dallas County will spend up to $30 million in federal COVID-19 aid for future vaccination efforts, the Dallas Morning News reported. County Commissioners unanimously approved a contract with Colorado-based American Medical Response Ambulance Service to lead inoculation efforts in the county, and the company will take over the vaccine hub at Fair Park as soon as next week, the paper reported.

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at rachel.snyder@peoplenewspapers.com

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