CDC’s new travel guidance eases alerts on dozens of countries

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) eased travel health advisories on several countries as the vaccination rate increases in the US.

Destinations such as Canada, Mexico, Japan, Italy, France and Germany dropped from a Level 4 “COVID-19 very high” alert to Level 3 “COVID-19 high” alert in a Monday update to the CDC’s travel recommendations list, which assesses each country’s health and safety risk for travelers. Travelers are advised to be fully vaccinated.

A country is rated based on how many cases were reported in the past 28 days per 100,000 population. A “Level 4” is more than 500 cases; “Level 3” is 100 to 500 cases; “Level 2 Moderate” has 50 to 99 and “Level 1 Low” has fewer than 50, the guidance says. Still at “Level 4,” are Argentina, North Korea, Costa Rica, Chile, Cuba and Jamaica among others. 

India, which has had trouble with their vaccine rollout and a recent surge in coronavirus cases, is ranked at “Level 4” by the CDC. “Because of the current situation in India, even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants.”

Countries with the lowest number of COVID-19 cases ranked “Level 1,” include Israel, Iceland, Belize, Fiji, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand, with more listed in the guidance. 

“Level 2” ranked countries include Bermuda, Barbados, Finland and Kenya, among others. 

The CDC advises against nonessential travel to countries rated a “Level 3” for unvaccinated individuals and suggests all to avoid traveling to “Level 4” countries. 

Travel continues to take flight, with the number of people passing through US airports reaching pre-pandemic levels earlier this week and potential delays through security are expected due to crowds at airports across the country. Airports screened 1,984,658 people at checkpoints on Sunday, the highest since the start of the pandemic, according to the latest data from the Transportation Security Administration. That’s a 350 percent increase from last year when 441,255 passengers were screened through airports on June 6.