The US State Department has heightened its travel warning against the UK, now categorizing it as ‘Level Four: Do Not Travel’. This is the strongest advisory rating, indicating a “very high level of COVID-19”.

Some 116 countries have also been reclassified as ‘Do Not Travel’, including Canada, France, Germany, and Israel. China and Japan remain at ‘Level 3: Reconsider Travel’.

It had been hoped that transatlantic leisure travel could be possible this summer, with Transport Secretary Grant Shapps commenting on Tuesday that he was keen to establish a US-UK travel corridor. “We are having those conversations,” he told an Airlines UK webinar.

The State Department said the reclassification did not suggest a reassessment of current health situations, but rather “reflects an adjustment in the State Department’s Travel Advisory system to rely more on on [the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s] existing epidemiological assessments.”

On Monday, the State Department revealed that 80 percent of the world’s nations would be added to the list, increasing the total of inclusions from 34 to 150 – and counting. It has not confirmed when it will complete the updates.