The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stopped regularly issuing COVID-19 related advisories for international travelers.
The federal agency had been updating its travel health notices by country for COVID-19 on Mondays since issuing the first such advisory in January 2020 for China, where the novel coronavirus outbreak began. But the practice has been suspended, CNN reported Monday.
“As fewer countries are testing or reporting COVID-19 cases, CDC’s ability to accurately assess the COVID-19 THN (Travel Health Notice) levels for most destinations that American travelers visit is limited,” a CDC spokesperson said in a statement to the cable news network.
As of Monday, the CDC will post travel advisories for a country only if merited by situations such as the spread of a concerning new COVID-19 variant, CNN Travel said. That’s similar to the list the CDC maintains to warn travelers about other health issues around the world, such as an outbreak of monkeypox or ebola.
No matter where they’re headed, travelers continue to be advised to stay up-to-date on their COVID-19 vaccinations, including the new updated booster shot available to anyone 12 and older, part of the CDC’s guidelines for international travel.
In April, the CDC dropped its “Do Not Travel” COVID-19 recommendations for about 90 countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan and Russia, saying the highest level of notices would be reserved “for special circumstances, such as rapidly escalating case trajectory or extremely high case counts,” Reuters reported then.
The latest change to the CDC’s recommendations for international travelers follows the relaxation of the federal agency’s guidelines for dealing with COVID-19 here at home in August, and President Joe Biden declaring in a recent interview that even as the virus continues to be a problem, the pandemic is over.
Other countries are also making changes to COVID-19 related travel restrictions. Last month, Canadian officials announced that as of Oct. 1, people would no longer be required to undergo health checks to travel by air or rail, or wear masks on planes and trains.
Worldwide, an average of more than 1,400 people are dying daily from COVID-19, including just over 386 in the United States, according to data compiled by The New York Times. For the week ending Sept. 29, the most recent data available, the Utah Department of Health and Human Services reported 10 new COVID-19 deaths in the state.