Travel from the US to Bulgaria prohibited due to rising COVID-19 cases

Bulgaria is prohibiting travel from the United States as the country faces its fourth surge of COVID-19. 

The European Union member state announced Tuesday it would move the U.S. into its “red zone,” a collection of countries that are considered to have the highest COVID-19 risk.

Starting Wednesday, all people from the U.S., regardless of vaccination status, cannot enter Bulgaria. There are a number of exemptions, including travelers with Bulgarian or EU citizenship. 

The decision comes just days after the EU removed the U.S. from its safe travel list, a move that signaled to its member states that travel restrictions should no longer be eased for Americans given the country’s COVID-19 case counts. August was the fourth-worst month for cases in the U.S., with almost 4.22 million new coronavirus cases reported.

Other countries have been tightening restrictions on American travelers. Earlier this week, Italy updated its entry requirements so that vaccinated travelers from the U.S. would have to take a pre-departure coronavirus test and unvaccinated travelers would have to test for the virus multiple times and self-isolate at least five days. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and State Department have each labeled Bulgaria as a Level 3 destination, meaning unvaccinated Americans are advised to “avoid nonessential travel” to the country.  

► Can Americans visit Europe this fall?: It’s complicated, after the EU decision. What travelers need to know.

► EU takes US off safe country list,: Recommends Europe travel restrictions tighten for Americans

Follow USA TODAY reporter Bailey Schulz on Twitter: @bailey_schulz

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