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US Travel Advisories: Americans Urged “Do Not Travel” To Italy In Latest Update / By SASHA BRADY / Lonely Planet / Exclusive Travel News / Merry Christmas And Happy New 2022

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US Travel Advisories: Americans Urged “Do Not Travel” To Italy In Latest Update / By SASHA BRADY / Lonely Planet / Exclusive Travel News

Italy is among the latest countries deemed “high-risk” for travelers © Getty Images
In its latest update, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has upgraded Italy to Level-4 status, urging Americans to avoid travel to the destination due to the number of COVID-19 infections in the country.
The CDC also added two other countries, Mauritius and Greenland, to that highest warning category. It also moved Tanzania from Level-4 status to “Level Unknown,” indicating the current situation regarding COVID-19 is unknown at this time.
The list of destinations the CDC asks Americans to avoid continues to grow as the spread of the new Omicron variant, alongside a surge of Delta-driven infections, triggers new obstacles to overseas travel.
The health agency added France and Portugal to the Level-4 alert the week of December 6. Jordan, Cyprus, Liechtenstein, and Andorra were added to the list at that time as well.
The current advisories aim to inform US residents about risks associated with traveling overseas, so people can make better-informed decisions about travel and enjoy relatively safe trips. If you plan to travel soon, here’s what you need to know about the latest travel guidelines.
Read more: What you need to know about finding and paying for healthcare abroad
Tourist photographing Lisbon skyline at sunset using smartphone, Portugal
Portugal was added to the Level-4 list December 6. © Getty Images
What is a travel advisory?
The ongoing risks associated with COVID-19, particularly as new variants emerge, present challenges and uncertainties for travel. To make the experience a little less confusing, the Department of State has aligned its security travel advisories with the CDC’s science-based Travel Health Notices to warn travelers about dangers and COVID-19 threats overseas.
Level 4 travel advisory
Level 4 is the highest alert. Countries that register more than 500 new cases of COVID-19 over the past 28 days per 100,000 population are designated to the CDC’s Level-4 list. Under CDC guidelines, people are asked to “avoid travel” to Level 4 destinations—but if they must travel, they should be fully vaccinated.
The Department of State takes this information into account, also looking at factors such as political instability, natural disasters and the threat of terrorism or violent crime. “[Level 4] is the highest advisory level due to greater likelihood of life-threatening risks,” the Department explains. In the context of COVID-19, Americans are urged to avoid travel to these places due to increased infection rates and COVID-19 variants such as the Omicron.
What countries are at Level 4?
Many popular European destinations have been designated Level 4 recently as the region battles another wave of COVID-19, prompting lockdowns in Austria and Slovakia, and the cancellation of Christmas markets in winter-friendly travel spots like Germany. Some Caribbean destinations are also sitting at the highest alert, such as Barbados and Belize where cases are rising. South Africa and neighboring countries are also here, just days after South Africa alerted the world to the emergence of the Omicron strain.
Other destinations at Level 4 include Ireland, the UK, Croatia, Denmark, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Portugal, Iceland, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique, Malawi, Lesotho, eSwatini, Botswana, Poland, the Czech Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, Singapore, Turkey, Greece, and more.
Level 3 advisory
The CDC advises unvaccinated Americans to avoid nonessential travel to Level 3 destinations, where risks associated with COVID-19 remain high. Some popular destinations designated Level 3 include Mexico, Costa Rica, Canada, El Salvador, Chile, Colombia, Egypt, French Polynesia, Aruba, Sweden, Japan, Australia, Brazil, Israel, Thailand, Panama, Spain, the Bahamas, South Korea, and—most recently—Cuba and Colombia.
Read more: International tourists can now travel to Canada – here’s what to expect
Level 2 advisory
Level 2 places are considered “COVID-19 moderate” destinations by the CDC. When traveling to these places people are asked to “practice enhanced precautions”. The CDC also urges unvaccinated people who are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 to avoid nonessential travel to Level 2 destinations. Some countries currently at Level 2 include Fiji, Jamaica, Peru , the Philippines, and Argentina.
Level 1 advisory
Level 1 destinations are considered “low-risk” countries. People traveling to these places are asked to “exercise normal precautions” by the Department of State. Given the scale of the pandemic, not many countries are considered low-risk. Some countries at Level 1 include India, Kenya, Paraguay, Rwanda, Zambia, Djibouti, Senegal, and the British Virgin Islands which recently revised its entry requirements to make it easier for fully vaccinated travelers to visit the islands.
A solo travellers flight has been cancelled. She is standing in front of the departures board. She is wearing a protective face mask
Travel advisories are intended to help people make better-informed decisions about travel ©Getty Images
Should I cancel my trip to a Level 4 country?
The answer is up to you. Travel advisories are guidelines, not rules. You are still permitted to travel to these places, but if you choose to go to a country the government is advising you to avoid, you do so at your own risk. In some extreme cases—that is, countries where there is civil unrest, widespread violence and political instability—the Department warns that some consular services may not be available to you and advises travelers to “always have a contingency plan for emergency situations”.
Read more: What do I do if my flight gets cancelled⁠—and can I get a refund?
If I do travel, do I need to quarantine?
It depends on your destination. These travel advisories and travel health notices are set out by the US government and the CDC, not the governments of the individual countries. For example, Ireland is at Level 4 but the Irish government is permitting Americans to travel there.
Will my travel insurance cover me in a Level 4 country?
It depends on your plan and provider. We asked several travel insurance experts for information on the impact travel advisories have on your insurance; find out how your health insurance covers getting COVID-19 while traveling abroad, and how to choose travel insurance that covers COVID-19.
How often do these advisories change?
The Department of State confirms it reviews and updates travel advisories “as needed, based on security and safety information.”
How to resist the urge to travel during the coronavirus pandemic
It may be tempting to travel right now, but Covid-19 is still wreaking havoc on many communities around the world. Digital Editor Alicia Johnson has four simple things you can do to resist the urge to travel during the coronavirus pandemic.
Anyone considering heading abroad should read the entire travel advisory for their destination at Travel.State.gov; in addition to the destination’s border restrictions and entry requirements—and stay up-to-date on local public health guidelines.
For more information on COVID-19 and travel, check out Lonely Planet’s Health Hub.
You might also like:
Need to self-isolate on arrival? Here’s what you need to know
PCR tests for travel: everything you need to know
How to manage vaccine certifications and COVID-19 passports for international travel
This article was first published on August 6, 2020 and updated on December 14, 2021
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