The CDC raised its travel advisory for several countries to "Level Four: Very High." Concurrently, the State Department issued "Do Not Travel" advisories for these countries.
It should be noted that Spain, Portugal and Cyprus all have high vaccination rates. Over 50 percent of the population in both Spain and Portugal are fully vaccinated, while more than 40 percent of the population of Cyprus has received at least one dose of the vaccine.
This begs the question of why the CDC and the White House want to issue travel advisories against countries with high vaccination rates. If they truly believe that the COVID-19 vaccines work and should prevent Americans who travel abroad from getting infected, then these travel advisories should be unnecessary. (Related: "What's the point of vaccinations?" British travelers from Portugal ordered to quarantine for 10 days despite being fully vaccinated.)
In addition, the CDC and the State Department have also raised their concerns regarding the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Israel. This is despite the fact that Israel is one of the most vaccinated nations in the world, with about 61.2 percent of the population fully vaccinated.
The CDC has issued a "Level Three: High" warning for Israel, while the State Department rated it as "Level Three: Reconsider Travel."
The CDC and the State Department have issued similar travel advisories for countries with vaccination rates that are significant but not as high. These include Kyrgyzstan and Cuba, which both have "Level Four: Very High" and "Do Not Travel" advisories from the CDC and the State Department, respectively.
In addition to the United States' travel advisories, the country still restricts non-essential travel for non-U.S. citizens from several countries around the world.
These countries include places with high vaccination rates, such as the United Kingdom, the entirety of the European Union, and the countries in Europe that are not part of the E.U. but are part of the border control-free Schengen Area.
Fifty-six percent of the U.K. is fully vaccinated, and another 14 percent are waiting to get their second dose of the vaccine. The E.U. is also trumpeting the 27-nation bloc's vaccination rate. It recently announced that it has achieved its major goal of providing at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to 70 percent of all adults within the region.
On Monday, July 26, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the policy of keeping people from those countries out would continue for now.
Psaki mentioned that the policy of keeping Europeans and people from several other nations out of the U.S. is due to concerns regarding the post-vaccine delta variant of the coronavirus.
"Given where we are today … with the delta variant, we will maintain existing travel restrictions at this point," she said. "The more transmissible delta variant is spreading both here and around the world. Driven by the delta variant, cases are rising here at home."
The delta variant currently accounts for around 83 percent of new cases in the U.S. Psaki then went on to blame the rise of the post-vaccine delta variant on the unvaccinated.
Non-U.S. citizens coming into the country from South Africa, Iran, India, China and Brazil are also barred from entering for non-essential reasons.
This policy follows the extension of the land border closure between the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Non-essential travel from Canada and Mexico into the U.S. will be prohibited until Aug. 21. This is despite the fact that 56 percent of Canada is fully vaccinated, and an additional 15 percent are waiting for their second dose of the vaccine.
Learn more about the United States' travel advisories and restrictions by reading the latest articles at Pandemic.news.