The CDC Just Eased COVID-19 Travel Recommendations for 61 Countries

Vaccinated travelers, (some of) the world is yours

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The summer of travel is finally here. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have lifted "do not travel" advisories for 61 countries due to decreasing COVID-19 case counts, suggesting that vaccinated individuals may visit the destinations.

Per the CDC site, countries including Canada, Mexico, France, Italy, Spain, Russia, Japan, and South Africa have been downgraded from a Level 4 "very high" risk assessment level to a Level 3 "high" risk assessment. The CDC has also lowered the United States' own advisory to Level 3.

While the CDC advises against all travel to Level 4 destinations, it suggests fully vaccinated travelers can travel to Level 3 destinations. Unvaccinated individuals, however, should still avoid non-essential travel to Level 3 destinations.

The change in advisories stems from a revision to the CDC's risk assessment criteria. Countries were previously categorized at Level 4 if they had 100 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people over the past 28 days; that has now changed to 500 cases per 100,000 people.

"Primary and secondary criteria used to determine Travel Health Notice (THN) levels were updated to better differentiate countries with severe outbreak situations from countries with sustained, but controlled, COVID-19 spread," the CDC said in a statement. "This update gives specific travel advice for vaccinated and unvaccinated people according to the THN level, ensuring THN levels reflect the current global situation and are aligned with guidance for international travel."

Currently, 61 countries remain at the Level 4 risk assessment for COVID-19, including India, Brazil, the Netherlands, and the Maldives. There are 56 destinations at Level 1, which pose a low risk of COVID-19 infection, including Australia, Iceland, Rwanda, Belize, Singapore, and Turks and Caicos.

This is all great news for the global travel industry, but don't go packing your bags just yet. Some countries still have specific rules against non-essential international travel that could prohibit you from visiting. (The United States, for instance, is still banning travelers coming from certain destinations, including the United Kingdom, Europe's Schengen Area, China, Brazil, and India, despite several of those countries being assessed as Level 3 or below.) Be sure to check a country's own governmental advisories and restrictions before you book a summer vacation.

Article Sources
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  1. Reuters. U.S. "CDC Eases Travel Recommendations on Some 110 Countries, Territories Including Japan." June 8, 2021.

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "How CDC Determines the Level for COVID-19 Travel Health Notices." June 7, 2021.

  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Travelers Prohibited from Entry to the United States." April 30, 2021.