The U.S. State Department has eased travel advisories for dozens of countries.
On Tuesday, the department announced that it’s moving a whopping 58 countries and territories out of its Level 4 “Do Not Travel,” category, and demoting them to Level 3, which denotes “Reconsider Travel,” destinations. The department is also moving an additional 27 countries all the way down to Levels 2 and 1, which means travelers are encouraged to exercise increased caution or exercise normal precautions respectively.
Among the extensive list of countries being moved out of the grim Level 4 category are popular destinations like France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Switzerland, Canada, Mexico and Japan—the latter of which being particularly important with the rapid approach of the Tokyo Olympic Games.
“The Department of State has no greater responsibility than the safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas,” the department said in a statement (via the Washington Post). “As conditions evolve, we regularly update our advice to U.S. travelers.”
These changes are the result of a similar overhaul by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC recently updated the criteria it uses to determine travel warnings in order to “to better differentiate countries with severe outbreak situations from countries with sustained, but controlled, covid-19 spread.” That change resulted in 62 destinations being moved from the highest warning level to the second-highest, 15 being moved to a moderate warning level, and another 34 being moved to the lowest warning level.
While the State Department considers a number of factors when determining its travel advisories, it also takes into account the decisions of the CDC—hence these changes.