Travelers wait in the airport security line. (photo by Eric Bowman)
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced it has removed around 90 countries and territories from its ‘Level 4: Do Not Travel’ list, according to Reuters.com.
The CDC revealed last week its Travel Health Notice system for international destinations would be overhauled. The new system reserves Level 4 travel health notices for special circumstances, such as rapidly escalating case trajectory or extremely high case counts, the emergence of a new variant of concern or healthcare infrastructure collapse.
Levels 3, 2, and 1 will continue to be primarily determined by 28-day incidence or case counts. With this new configuration, travelers will have a more actionable alert for when they should not travel to a certain destination.
The majority of nations that were previously listed at Level 4 have been shifted to ‘Level 3: High,’ which still calls for unvaccinated Americans to avoid travel to the destinations.
Countries moved to Level 3 include Australia, Belgium, Chile, Czech Republic, France, Greece, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Poland, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
With the overhaul, there are no countries or territories currently listed at Level 4.
Last week, the U.S. Department of State revealed it would cut back on “Do Not Travel” advisories for international destinations after CDC officials announced the change in how they will assess COVID-19 concerns.
Officials from the State Department said the update would leave only 10 percent of the nearly 120 countries and territories at “Level 4: Do Not Travel,” which includes all risk factors, not just coronavirus infections.
“We believe the updated framework will help U.S. citizens make better informed decisions about the safety of international travel,” a State Department spokesperson said.
As part of the CDC’s travel warning system overhaul, it also extended the nationwide mask requirements for public transportation through May 3. In response, U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle in Tampa voided the mask mandate, saying the CDC “improperly failed to justify its decision and did not follow proper rulemaking.”