Monday, 14 June, 2021

CDC relaxes guidance for worldwide travel for vaccinated, unvaccinated travelers

US lowers travel advisory for S. Korea to lowest Level 1 US lowers 'Japan Travel Advisory' to Level 3
Deanna Wagner | 10 June, 2021, 17:14

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended eased travel recommendations for more than 110 countries and territories - including South Africa.

The threat levels are determined by the number of COVID-19 cases in a given country.

It said unvaccinated travelers should avoid nonessential trips to the Philippines due to the "high level of COVID-19" in the country.

Numerous countries that now have lower ratings remain on the US government's list of countries subject to severe travel restrictions - and most have been subject to the restrictions since early 2020.

Many more states are categorized under the heading "Exercise increased caution".

In those countries, there have been 500 cases for every 100,000 residents in the last 28 days.

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The United States itself has fully vaccinated more than half its entire population, and the infection rate has plummeted. The administration is also using the U.S. vaccine supply as a tool to counter Chinese and Russian vaccine diplomacy.

With well more than a hundred million Americans now being fully vaccinated, the interest in traveling to Greece after the long months of the pandemic is increasing all the time.

"With decreased infection rates in the USA combined with the administration's goal of having a critical mass of Americans fully vaccinated by July 4th, there is a true near-term opportunity to safely begin to welcome back worldwide visitors".

France, Spain and Italy are among destinations now rated at Level 3, enabling those fully vaccinated to travel.

Asked why the United States is maintaining the restrictions even though some countries that now have low infection rates are subject to them, while others with high rates are exempt, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said on Tuesday the issue was subject to "an interagency conversation, and we are looking at the data in real time as to how we should move forward with that".

The CDC categorizes the U.S. as a Level 3 country. The recent improvement of cases in these geographies - especially Europe - has led airlines to lobby for a reopening.

Tuesday's change will "provide US travelers detailed and actionable information to make informed travel decisions", the department said. This restriction also remains in effect for fully vaccinated passengers. According to data from the CDC, almost 50% of all people ages 12 and older in the USA have been fully vaccinated.