Majority of countries on ‘Do Not Travel’ list
THE United States is urging its citizens to “avoid all travel” to the Philippines due to the ongoing risk of COVID-19 transmission and other safety threats.
The State Department on Tuesday, April 20, factoring in the assessment of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said the Philippines is classified under “Level 4: Do Not Travel” due to the “high level” of COVID-19 in the country.
“Because of the current situation in the Philippines even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants and should avoid all travel to the Philippines,” the CDC said on its website.
The agency advised that travelers should get fully vaccinated before traveling to the Philippines and continue to follow safety measures, such as wearing a mask, physical distancing, avoiding crowds and washing hands.
The update comes after the State Department announced that it will begin updating its travel advisories to better align with those from health authorities.
“As travelers face ongoing risks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of State will begin updating its Travel Advisories this week to better reflect the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) science-based Travel Health Notices that outline current issues affecting travelers’ health,” the State Department said in a memo on Monday, April 19.
The advisories factor in the availability of testing and current travel restrictions for U.S. citizens.
The update to the State Department’s travel advisories “will result in a significant increase in the number of countries at Level 4: Do Not Travel, to approximately 80% of countries worldwide.”
“This does not imply a reassessment of the current health situation in a given country, but rather reflects an adjustment in the State Department’s Travel Advisory system to rely more on CDC’s existing epidemiological assessments,” the agency stressed.
The State Department also urged Americans traveling to the Philippines to “exercise increased caution” due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, and kidnapping” in the country.
It advised not to travel to the Sulu Archipelago, including the southern Sulu Sea, and Marawi City in Mindanao. The agency also said to “reconsider travel” to other areas of Mindanao.
“Terrorist and armed groups continue plotting possible kidnappings, bombings, and other attacks in the Philippines. Terrorist and armed groups may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities,” the agency wrote.
Over 142 million cases of COVID-19 have been recorded across the globe, with more than three million deaths.
In the U.S., a total of 31,793,035 infections have been confirmed as of this writing, with 568,470 fatalities.
“As always, we are closely monitoring conditions around the globe, and will regularly update our destination-specific advice to U.S. travelers as conditions evolve,” the agency said.