A man pushes his bags at the departures level at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on May 27, 2021 in Los Angeles as people travel over Memorial Day weekend, marking the unofficial start of the summer travel season.
Frederick J. Brown | AFP | Getty Images
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has eased travel recommendations for more than 110 countries and territories, including Japan, ahead of the Olympics.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new classifications, first reported by Reuters and published Monday on the CDC’s website, include 61 countries downgraded from the top of the “Tier 4” rating that discourages all travel from travel. Recommended for fully vaccinated individuals, the agency confirmed Tuesday.
A spokeswoman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 50 other countries and regions had been downgraded to “Level 2” or “Level 1.” The countries ranked lowest in terms of Covid-19 risk are now Singapore, Israel, South Korea, Iceland, Belize and Albania.
Countries now included in “Tier 3” include France, Ecuador, the Philippines, South Africa, Canada, Mexico, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, Honduras, Hungary and Italy.
A US State Department official said it is reviewing travel advisories to reflect changes to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Early Tuesday, the State Department lowered ratings in more than 90 countries and regions, including Japan.
On May 24, the State Department lobbied for travel to Japan, citing a new wave of coronavirus cases ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, which begin on July 23.
The State Department’s warning raised alarm, prompting the White House to reaffirm its support for Tokyo’s plan to host the Games this summer and the American athletes competing there, despite a new wave of infections and low vaccination coverage in the host country.
Foreign spectators have been banned and organizers are expected to make a decision on domestic spectators later this month.
The CDC said the change comes after it revised health travel standards. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said it had revised its classification for the United States to “Tier 3” from “Tier 4.”
The agency said the new criteria for the Level 4 “avoid travel” recommendation had been changed from 100 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 to 500 cases per 100,000.
Many countries had lower ratings, the agency added, “due to changes in criteria or because the outbreak is better under control.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said it expects more states to receive lower and more favorable travel classifications.
Other countries downgraded to “Tier 3” include Honduras, Indonesia, Jordan, Libya, Panama, Poland, Denmark and Malaysia.
Several countries with lower ratings are now still on the US government’s list of countries with severe travel restrictions – most of which have been under restrictions since early 2020.
The United States has banned almost all non-US citizens who have visited China, the United Kingdom, Ireland, India, South Africa, Brazil, Iran and the 26 Schengen countries in Europe in the past 14 days without border restrictions.
When CDC director Rochelle Walinsky was asked on Tuesday why the United States continues to enforce warnings even though some countries now have low infection rates subject to restrictions while others with high rates are exempt from an interagency conversation, we look at the data in real time to see how we can do it. “
The US is also in talks with Canada and Mexico – both of which watered down the recommendations on Tuesday – about lifting or reviewing restrictions at US land borders that prevent non-essential travel.