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U.S. lowers travel advisory for S. Korea

Posted April. 20, 2022 07:55,   

Updated April. 20, 2022 07:55


The U.S. is lowering advisories for overseas travel, including for South Korea, that were introduced to curb the spread of COVID-19.

On Monday, the State Department announced on its website that it has lowered the current Level 4 travel advisory, which is the highest level, for South Korea to Level 1. The COVID-19 travel level system consists of four levels ― from Level 1 being the lowest, to Level 2 indicating a moderate risk of the virus, Level 3 at high risk, and Level 4 for special circumstances. South Korea has been designated as a Level 4 destination, with the surging of the Omicron variant. Although the State Department did not disclose the reason for shifting its travel advisory on South Korea, the U.S. announced last week that it would lift Level 4 travel advisories for most countries and leave approximately 10% of all travel advisories at Level 4.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also lowered travel alerts for 90 countries, including South Korea, from the highest level 4 by one notch to level 3. The CDC imposes level 4 restrictions for countries that it recommends not to travel. Level 3 is imposed on destinations that travelers are cautioned to travel without vaccination. Among the countries the CDC has dropped travel restrictions to Level 3 include South Korea, the U.K., France, Japan, Australia, Italy, Spain, and Russia.

The relaxation of travel restrictions has been driven by widespread vaccination among major countries around the world, and the shifting of policies in the U.S. towards encouraging voluntary compliance with regard to mask mandates and overseas travel. The aviation industry has been asking the government for mitigation of travel bans, arguing that the government’s COVID-19 travel recommendations excessively restricts overseas travel demands.

Jae-Dong Yu jarrett@donga.com