International travel has been slowly rebounding in 2022. U.S. citizens as well as green card holders have gotten the itch to leave the United States for tourist destinations, as well as countries of origin now that the wave of Omicron has largely subsided domestically and in many countries around the world.
However, if you look at the State Department’s travel warning system, it does note that many countries around the world are still considered “Level 4 Destinations”. This might come across as confusing because Level 4 destinations are essentially ones that the State Department has marked as Do Not Travel destinations because of the high levels of Covid-19, and perhaps a lack of proper medical infrastructure in parts of the country that would be able to assist someone with a serious illness.
While Level 4 destination warnings should be taken seriously, in this post we will help to better clarify how you should proceed. After all, much of the world, including the UK, is considered a “Level 4 destination” according to the State Department.
First off, it should be noted that some people, such as green card holders, might know the local situation when it comes to health infrastructure better than an employee who works at the State Department. In this regard, many Level 4 Destinations that the State Department designates are only based off of an incomplete analysis of a major city, and thus do not take into consideration the entire health/safety analysis of the country.
Therefore it is better to understand the 4-tiered system as an “alert” to potential travellers for the risks of travelling outside of the United States in a worst case scenario situation. Still, many times these worst case scenarios don’t apply to international travellers who will be able to navigate the interior of their country much better than a tourist unfamiliar with the local culture/transportation/infrastructure, etc.
What the warning system should communicate, especially with green card holders, is that a Level 4 destination does indeed have high levels of Covid-19, and that residents already in the U.S. should complete their vaccination schedules, or at least make sure to get boosted before they leave the United States. Getting boosted also prevents individuals from developing a severe case of Covid-19, and might also serve as some extra insurance for an international travellers flight back to the U.S.—which still requires a 24 hour negative Covid-19 test before flight departure.
Overall, it seems that as the pandemic shifts to more of an endemic state, the State Department’s 4-tiered warning system should serve as guidance for understanding that Covid-19 is going to present in a foreign destination, but as long as international travellers practice good hand hygiene, wear masks, don’t have underlying health conditions, and have completed their vaccine schedules, there is probably little reason for concern when it comes to getting seriously ill from Covid-19.