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WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of State has lifted its blanket Level 4 health advisory for global travel outside of the U.S., opting instead to assess travel advisory levels country by country, according to risk for COVID-19.
While the vast majority of countries on the Department of State’s list remain at Level 3 or Level 4, it’s a step towards more specific assessment, and a move to reopening travel.
Many countries around the world are still barring U.S. travellers from their borders, as COVID-19 numbers in the U.S. remain high. The U.S. could be setting the stage for potential reciprocity, anticipating that its numbers will eventually come down.
Many in the Canadian travel industry, notably the airlines, tour operators and travel retailers behind the #timetotravel initiative, have urged the Canadian federal government to loosen Canada’s travel restrictions in a safe but effective manner. Canada’s warning to “avoid all non-essential travel outside Canada until further notice” has been unchanged since mid-March, and the 14-day quarantine for all travellers returning to Canada is also unchanged. Canada’s travel advisory is here.
In an exclusive interview last month with Travelweek, Air Canada’s Virgilio Russi, Managing Director of Sales, International, noted that if Canada doesn’t reciprocate global entry privileges soon, Canada could see more countries roll back on their decision to allow Canadians in.
A statement from the U.S. Department of State issued today says: “On August 6, in close coordination with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Department of State lifted the Global Level 4 Health Advisory.
“The Global Advisory, initially put in place on March 19, 2020, advised U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19.
“With health and safety conditions improving in some countries and potentially deteriorating in others, the Department is returning to our previous system of country-specific levels of travel advice (with Levels from 1-4 depending on country-specific conditions), in order to give travellers detailed and actionable information to make informed travel decisions.”
The U.S. Department of State’s list can be seen here. Most countries in the list are designated as Level 3, which is ‘Reconsider Travel’. A handful are Level 4, ‘Do Not Travel’.
Destinations including Thailand and New Zealand have been designated Level 2, ‘Exercise Increased Caution’. Taiwan and Macau are among the Level 1 destinations, ‘Exercise Normal Precautions’.
Canada is designated as Level 3. The Canada-U.S. border is closed until at least Aug. 21.