US rescinds global ‘do not travel’ coronavirus warning

Americans still face travel restrictions, but State Department will return to country-specific warnings rather than a blanket ban, which they say is not needed.

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A worker walks through a baggage claim area at a nearly-empty O’Hare International Airport on April 2, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois.

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NEW YORK — The Trump administration on Thursday rescinded its warnings to Americans against all international travel because of the coronavirus pandemic, saying conditions no longer warrant a blanket worldwide alert.

The State Department lifted its level-four health advisory for the entire world in order to return to country-specific warnings. That move came shortly after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revised its COVID-19 travel advisory information. The CDC lifted “do not travel” warnings for about 20 locations but advised staying away from the vast majority of the world.

“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 in order to give travelers detailed and actionable information to make informed travel decisions,” the State Department said in a statement.

“This will also provide U.S. citizens more detailed information about the current status in each country,” it said. “We continue to recommend U.S. citizens exercise caution when traveling abroad due to the unpredictable nature of the pandemic.”

The State Department invoked the blanket warning against all international travel on March 19 as the pandemic spread. The revised country-specific travel advice is available at https://travel.state.gov. However, Americans still face travel restrictions across the world because of the uncontrolled spread of the coronavirus in the country.

Earlier Thursday, the CDC revised its travel guidance, saying the changes were driven by how the virus was spreading in different places and how well the public health and health care systems were functioning in dealing with new cases.

Seven places, including Thailand, Fiji and New Zealand, are in a low-risk group, according to the CDC, although officials there advised that certain people, such as older adults and those with certain underlying medical conditions, talk to their doctors before making the trip. For more than a dozen other locations, it had no precautions. Taiwan, Greenland, and Laos are on that list.

But the CDC continues to advise against nonessential travel to more than 200 other international locations.

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