Just final week, there have been 89 international locations on the U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Level 4 “Do Not Travel” advisory list. Immediately, there are none. So, what modified from one week to the following? Did 89 international locations all of a sudden turn into much less of a threat for vacationers? Not essentially.

As of April 18, the CDC has changed how it classifies international destinations beneath its COVID journey advisory system.

“To assist the general public perceive when the best stage of concern is most pressing, this new system will reserve Stage 4 journey well being notices for particular circumstances, similar to quickly escalating case trajectory or extraordinarily excessive case counts, emergence of a brand new variant of concern, or healthcare infrastructure collapse,” the CDC stated in a press release concerning the new classifications.

Whereas now Stage 4 is deemed “Particular Circumstances/Do Not Journey,” beforehand Stage 4 merely indicated a “very excessive stage of COVID-19,” and got here with the recommendation to keep away from journey to the vacation spot. This encompassed international locations that surpassed sure thresholds for brand spanking new counts of circumstances and upward case trajectories.

This new advisory system makes it simpler for vacationers to evaluate essentially the most vital pandemic-related considerations world wide. When a large number of nations is deemed “excessive threat,” that may both deter vacationers from worldwide journey utterly or can flip them off from an advisory system that paints the world in broad brushstrokes of threat.

“With this new configuration, vacationers could have a extra actionable alert for when they need to not journey to a sure vacation spot (Stage 4), no matter vaccination standing, till we have now a clearer understanding of the COVID-19 state of affairs at that vacation spot,” the CDC acknowledged.

Every week, the CDC releases its up to date journey well being notices and corresponding map, and in latest weeks the variety of international locations deemed Stage 4 or “don’t journey” had included the overwhelming majority of nations on this planet—in early February 140 international locations had been on the Stage 4 or “don’t journey” listing. This week, beneath the brand new classification system, there are not any international locations with a Stage 4 designation, and there are 122 international locations and territories that fall beneath the Stage 3 or “COVID-19: Excessive” listing.

Ranges 1, 2, and three, characterize incidents of COVID-19 which can be “low,” “medium,” and “excessive,” respectively. There are additionally a number of international locations marked as “stage unkown,” that are designated in grey on the map. Figuring out these designations can assist vacationers make knowledgeable choices about the place they really feel comfy touring and any further precautions they might wish to take earlier than, throughout, or after their travels. For all ranges, the CDC recommends that vacationers are updated on their COVID-19 vaccines, however doesn’t suggest avoiding journey there, which suggests there may be at the moment nowhere on this planet the CDC deems unsafe to journey to within the context of the pandemic.

This advisory system is separate from particular person nation necessities for vacationers which can be issued by every authorities, which have had a bent to fluctuate typically all through the pandemic as COVID circumstances have risen and fallen. 

The U.S. State Division makes use of an identical four-level journey advisory system, however the State Department’s travel advisories take note of many further security elements past public well being points, together with risk of battle, violence, and different humanitarian and pure crises.  

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