US CDC to reduce COVID-19 international travel avoidance list

Air travelers wearing protective face masks, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, walk at JetBlue Terminal 5 at JFK International Airport in New York, U.S., November 16, 2021. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo

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April 13 (Reuters) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Wednesday it would revise its COVID-19 travel recommendations for international destinations and reduce the number of countries the government recommends avoiding.

About 90 countries and regions, including most of Europe, Brazil, Turkey, Russia, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Israel and Australia are currently classified by the CDC as “Level 4: Very high” and the CDC recommends Americans, even if they are vaccinated, to avoid travel to these countries.

“This new system will reserve Level 4 travel health notices for specific circumstances, such as a rapidly increasing case trajectory or extremely high case counts,” the CDC said in a statement, adding that it will come into effect on Monday.

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Last month, industry group US Travel urged the CDC to end “avoid travel” advisories for all vaccinated people and urged the Biden administration to avoid “use of travel bans” in the future. travel from certain countries”.

The letter added that “the CDC should ensure that Americans are not deterred from traveling to a location where COVID-19 case rates are at or below prevailing case rates in the United States.”

In recent weeks, the CDC has removed a number of countries from the “Tier 4” rating, including Saudi Arabia, Myanmar, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia, Botswana and Haiti.

Airlines and other travel groups have pressured the Biden administration to lift pre-departure COVID negative testing requirements for international air travelers — as many other countries have done.

The airline says testing rules are deterring some Americans from international flights due to the cost of testing and fear of being stranded abroad if they contract COVID. Administration officials say the matter has been reviewed in recent weeks, but health officials have not announced any changes.

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Reporting by David Shepardson in Berkeley, Calif.; Editing by Leslie Adler and David Gregorio

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