The U.S. is changing the way it categorizes destinations based on COVID-19 concerns.
The U.S. Department of State on Thursday announced that it had “reassessed how COVID-19 considerations factor into our Travel Advisory levels for U.S. citizens.”
“Given the increases in international travel, the availability of effective COVID-19 mitigation measures, and recently announced changes to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) COVID-19 Travel Health Notice (THN) process, we have reassessed how COVID-19 considerations factor into our Travel Advisory levels for U.S. citizens,” the Department wrote on Thursday.
Mostly, the change is that the State Department will no longer automatically correlate its advisory levels with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Travel Health Notice Level. That means that about 10% of all Level 4: Do Not Travel advisories will remain (it had been at about 120 of 215 destinations that the Department ranks), with those advisories including all risk factors, not just COVID-19.
“We believe the updated framework will help U.S. citizens make better-informed decisions about the safety of international travel,” the Department said.
The update will change the advisory list by early next week.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this week also announced this week it would be changing the way it ranks destinations. The CDC will use a "new system" that "will reserve Level 4 travel health notices for special circumstances, such as rapidly escalating case trajectory or extremely high case counts."
That change will also remove a lot of Level 4 countries from its list, a change that will be effective also early next week.