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US to expand 'do not travel' warning to 80 percent of countries amid COVID-19 spike

The State Department said on Monday that it will expand its “do not travel” advisory to about 80 percent of countries worldwide amid a COVID-19 spike, Reuters reported.

The State Department had already listed 34 countries as “Level 4: Do Not Travel,” including Chad, Kosovo, Kenya, Brazil, Argentina, Haiti, Mozambique, Russia and Tanzania, according to Reuters. Getting to 80 percent would add nearly 130 countries, the news outlet reported.

“This alignment better reflects the current, unpredictable, and ever-evolving threat posed by covid-19,” the department said in an email, according to The Washington Post. “We continue to strongly recommend U.S. citizens reconsider all travel abroad, and postpone their trips if possible.”

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Most Americans were prevented from traveling to many European countries during the pandemic, and Washington has barred nearly all non-U.S. citizens who have recently been in much of Europe, China, Brazil, Iran and South Africa because of variants of the coronavirus that health experts say are more contagious.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said earlier this month that people who are fully vaccinated against the virus can safely travel at low risk, but CDC Director Rochelle WalenskyRochelle WalenskyTop CDC official who warned of pandemic disruption will resign CDC director: Vaccinated adolescents can remove masks outdoors at summer camps CDC: COVID-19 cases, deaths projected to drop sharply in mid-July MORE urged Americans not to do so. 

"We know that right now we have a surging number of cases. I would advocate against general travel overall," Walensky said, according to Reuters. "We are not recommending travel at this time, especially for unvaccinated individuals."