US: Do not travel to the Philippines due to high COVID-19 infection

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 21) — The United States on Wednesday strongly advised its citizens against traveling to the Philippines due to the "high level" of COVID-19 infection in the country.

The US Department of State issued the Level 4: Do Not Travel restriction in accordance with the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The updated Level 4 list included 100 other countries. Previously, there were only around three dozen countries on the department's Do Not Travel alert — the highest of the travel advisory levels.

The US CDC said the public — even those fully vaccinated — should avoid all travel to the Philippines due to the current COVID-19 situation in the country. It said even those who have received their shots may be at risk of getting and spreading COVID-19 variants.

If traveling to the Philippines cannot be avoided, it urged travelers to complete their vaccine shots first. It said all travelers should wear a mask, practice physical distancing, and follow minimum health protocols.

The Philippines has recorded at least 953,106 COVID-19 cases, with 127,006 patients currently sick. Parts of the country, including the capital region Metro Manila, are experiencing a surge in new infections. The country has hundreds of confirmed cases of the more transmissible variants that were first detected in the United Kingdom, South Africa, Brazil, and one under investigation that originated in the Philippines.