The U.S. State Department said Thursday will sharply cut back on "Do Not Travel" advisories for international destinations after public health officials announced a change in how they will assess COVID-19 concerns.

The State Department currently lists nearly 120 countries and territories at "Level Four: Do Not Travel" out of about 215 rated. The department said its "update will leave approximately 10% of all Travel Advisories at Level 4: Do Not Travel" including all risk factors, not just COVID-19.

"We believe the updated framework will help U.S. citizens make better informed decisions about the safety of international travel," the department said in a statement.

(Reporting by David Shepardson)