One of the many new challenges travels advisors say they face post-pandemic is the constantly changing COVID protocols and restrictions.
On Monday, the State Department continued that trend when it upped the travel alert for several more countries, including popular European destinations Spain and Portugal, as the Delta variant and an increase in cases mostly among the unvaccinated drive concern.
The State Department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new travel advisories Monday for Cyprus, Portugal, and Spain, citing surging case numbers in all five countries.
The highest level of travel advisories, Level 4, was issued for Cyprus, Portugal, and Spain, strongly urging U.S. citizens to avoid all travel to those countries even if fully vaccinated. Similar warnings were issued for travel to Britain last week.
Because of the coronavirus situation in those countries, “even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants,” the CDC said.
The State Department also updated Israel’s advisor to Level 3, “indicating a high level of COVID-19” in the country, and urged unvaccinated people to “avoid nonessential travel to Israel.”
The announcements come after the White House said COVID-related travel restrictions will remain in place for the time being.
“Given where we are today … with the delta variant, we will maintain existing travel restrictions at this point for a few reasons," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said at a press briefing Monday. "The more transmissible delta variant is spreading both here and around the world. Driven by the delta variant, cases are rising here at home, particularly among those who are unvaccinated and appear likely to continue in the weeks ahead.”
U.S. Travel Association urged the Biden administration to revisit its decision in the very near term and begin reopening international travel to vaccinated individuals.