WASHINGTON – The U.S. State Department loosened its travel warnings for nations around the world, including France, Canada and Germany, in a move that could loosen airline restrictions for people wanting to go overseas as the coronavirus pandemic eases in parts of the world.
The department changed its travel warnings Tuesday for many nations from level 4, or “do not travel,” to level 3, “reconsider travel,” according to the agency’s website.
In a statement, the department said it was updating the advisories after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed the methodology for its travel health notices.
Dozens of countries were affected by the latest change, including France, Canada, Mexico, South Korea and Singapore.
The department was expected to release a full list later Tuesday.
The advisories aren’t binding but can help airlines and other nations set their own restrictions for travel.
Other countries often reciprocate for American citizens based on the department’s advisories.
The move comes days before President Joe Biden plans to visit the U.K. for a Group of 7 meeting and as Vice President Kamala Harris visits Mexico. Airlines and some nations have complained that current travel restrictions to the U.S. are out of step with rising vaccination rates and the reduced threat of contracting COVID-19, and many limits on U.S. travelers remain in place.
”We have heard very clearly the desire of our friends in Europe and the U.K. to be able to reopen travel across the Atlantic Ocean, and we want to see that happen,” National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Monday. “But we have to follow the science, and we have to follow the guidance of our public health professionals. We’re actively engaging them to determine the time frame.”
In the U.S., new infections are at the lowest levels since the pandemic began in March 2020.
Weekly cases worldwide have been declining for six weeks as the outbreak in India wanes and global vaccination efforts ramp up.