(ATTN: MODIFIES lead; UPDATES with additional information in last para)
By Byun Duk-kun
WASHINGTON, April 20 (Yonhap) -- The United States on Tuesday maintained its travel advisory for South Korea unchanged at Level 2, despite new rules that it said will result in a travel ban for about 80 percent of all countries.
"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 2 Travel Health Notice for South Korea due to COVID-19, indicating a moderate level of COVID-19 in the country," the State Department said in its latest travel advisory.
"This update will result in a significant increase in the number of countries at Level 4: Do Not Travel, to approximately 80% of countries worldwide," the State Department said earlier.
The Level 2 travel warning advises U.S. citizens to exercise increased caution when traveling to the affected country.
The U.S. advisory on South Korea has been at Level 2 since Nov. 23.
The department said the latest updated reflects "science-based" guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"Our Advisories also take into account logistical factors, including in-country testing availability and current travel restrictions for U.S. citizens," it had said.
South Korea has so far confirmed some 115,000 COVID-19 cases and 1,802 deaths.
The figures mark one of the lowest rates among advanced countries with a population of 50 million or more.
South Korea currently enforces a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all visitors, including South Korean citizens, from overseas countries.
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