The Trump administration has lifted the blanket Level 4 ‘do not travel’ ban in the US, first implemented on 19 March, instead returning to ‘country specific’ bans that take into account the threat to public safety posed by each country individually.
The decision was made by the US State Department, reportedly in consultation with the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
Much of Europe, Africa and Asia have been downgraded to a Level 3 restriction, which encourages Americans to “reconsider travel”, while New Zealand is now listed at a Level 2, for “exercise caution”.
Meanwhile, despite a huge decline in daily COVID-19 cases, China still sits at a Level 4 travel ban, due to “travel and quarantine restrictions”, according to the US State Department website.
“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,” the State Department said in a statement accompanying the announcement.
“We continue to recommend US citizens exercise caution when traveling abroad due to the unpredictable nature of the pandemic.”
Despite the removal of the blanket ban, Americans will still be limited in where they can go, due to the uncontrolled outbreak of COVID-19 in the US, and subsequent banning of US travellers entering into many countries, including all of the European Union.
At close to 5 million cases, the US currently has the highest number of cases out of any country in the world, with Brazil coming in second at close to 3 million.
Further, the number of COVID-19 cases in the US continues to climb at around 65,000 new cases per day.
The move comes as the CDC revised its own COVID-19 travel advisory information, which has been based on how the virus is spreading in different countries, as well as how well public health care systems were handling the outbreak.
Several countries, including New Zealand, Fiji and Thailand, were placed in a low-risk group by the CDC, while others had no precautions attached, including Taiwan, Greenland and Laos.
Despite the changes, the CDC advised older adults and individuals with underlying medical conditions to speak with their doctor before planning a trip overseas.
The CDC continues to advise against all non-essential travel to more than 200 other international locations.