The State Department said Monday it planned to increase the number of countries receiving its highest warning classification to nearly 80% of countries worldwide.
Before, the State Department had only 34 out of about 200 countries on the "Do Not Travel" list, yet now it lists 150 countries at Level Four, declining to say when it would complete the updates.
Uruguay Issues US Travel Warning After Mass Shootings
The move on Monday does not necessarily imply a re-evaluation of the current health situations in some countries, but rather, according to the State Department, "reflects an adjustment in the State Department's Travel Advisory system to rely more on (the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's) existing epidemiological assessments."
While recommendations are not mandatory and do not prevent Americans from traveling, most Americans already had been prevented from traveling to much of Europe, for example, because of COVID-19 restrictions.
Countries also included in the "Do Not Travel" list include Finland, Egypt, Belgium, Turkey, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, and Spain. China and Japan, on the other hand, remain at "Level 3: Reconsider Travel."
Previously, Washington barred nearly all non-U.S. citizens who recently have been in most of Europe, China, Brazil, Iran, and South Africa.
On Tuesday, the United States extended by another 30 days restrictions that have been in place for the past 13 months that bar non-essential travel at its borders with Canada and Mexico.
That said, Nick Calio, of the trade group representing major U.S. carriers, Airlines for America, told a Senate panel Wednesday that policymakers needed to develop a "road map" to reopening international travel.
The CDC, meanwhile, said earlier this month that fully vaccinated people could safely travel within the United States at "low risk." However, its director Rochelle Walensky discouraged Americans from doing so due to high COVID-19 cases nationwide.