US CDC simplifies travel recommendations for 61 countries, including Japan

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Travelers wearing face masks to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) collect their luggage at the airport in Denver, Colorado, the United States, Nov. 24, 2020. REUTERS / Kevin Mohatt

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) changed their travel recommendations for 61 countries, including Japan, from their highest “Level 4” rating, which had discouraged all travel, to travel recommendations for complete vaccinated people relaxed, the agency confirmed Tuesday.

The new ratings, which were not reported on Monday and posted on a CDC website, lower 61 countries to “Level 3” including France, South Africa, Canada, Mexico, Russia, Spain and Italy. A US State Department official said it was in the process of revising its travel advice to reflect changes made by the CDC.

The CDC said the change comes after their travel health alert criteria were revised. The CDC said it has also changed its rating for the United States from “Level 4” to “Level 3”.

On May 24, the State Department advised against traveling to Japan, citing a new wave of coronavirus cases ahead of the Tokyo Olympics on July 23.

The CDC said the new criteria for a Level 4 “Avoid All Travel” recommendation has changed from 100 cases per 100,000 to 500 cases per 100,000. The CDC added that many countries have lower scores “because the criteria change or because their outbreaks are better controlled”. The CDC added that it expects more countries to receive lower ratings.

Other countries that will be lowered to “Level 3” are Honduras, Indonesia, Jordan, Libya, Panama, Poland, Denmark and Malaysia.

Many of the countries that now have lower ratings remain on the U.S. government’s list of countries with strict travel restrictions – and most have been subject to restrictions since early 2020.

The United States bans almost all non-US citizens who have been in China, Great Britain, Ireland, India, South Africa, Brazil, Iran and the 26 Schengen countries in Europe without border controls in the past 14 days.

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