On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officially moved off its old travel health notice system. That system, which was installed early in the COVID-19 pandemic, categorized destinations depending on the COVID-19 infection rate per 100,000 residents in destinations worldwide.
The Level 4 list, for instance, had previously included destinations that had recorded more than 500 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days, while subsequent levels took that threshold down to lower levels of COVID.
Now, after the CDC’s most recent change, most of those Level 4 destinations, including Canada, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, the U.K., and most other destinations that the agency monitors, are now categorized on the CDC’s Level 3: COVID-19 High list, a big change from earlier in the pandemic.
The Level 3 list still includes destinations that are “high risk” for COVID, but it no longer tells Americans “do not travel” to the included destinations because of high rates of COVID-19, which was what the previous Level 4 warning was doing.
And while the “Do Not Travel” warning on the Level 4 list remains, there are currently no destinations on the list.
The CDC said it made the change last week because it wanted to be able “to help the public understand when the highest level of concern is most urgent.”
“This new system will reserve Level 4 travel health notices for special circumstances, such as rapidly escalating case trajectory or extremely high case counts, 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,” the CDC said.