CDC Overhauls Covid Travel Alert System and Ratings

By Kurt Stolz on 18 April 2022
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Travelers at Toronto Pearson Airport

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made significant updates to its Travel Health Notice system that provides coronavirus risk ratings for non-U.S. destinations.

“As the Covid-19 situation around the world changes, CDC is monitoring Covid-19 risk in destinations around the world and making travel recommendations,” the agency said in a statement on its Covid-19 Travel Recommendations page.

The system rates countries from Level 1 through Level 4, wherein Level 1 is a low-risk country, Level 2 carries moderate risk, Level 3 is high risk, and Level 4 is very high risk.

Under the new system, the agency will reserve Level 4 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,” it said.

The change was being made “to help the public understand when the highest level of concern is most urgent.”

Going forward, Levels 3, 2, and 1 will be primarily determined by 28-day incidence of Covid, as has been the case in the past.

“With this new configuration, travelers will have a more actionable alert for when they should not travel to a certain destination (Level 4), regardless of vaccination status, until we have a clearer understanding of the Covid-19 situation at that destination,” the CDC said in a news release announcing the change.

As of Sunday, the day before the new system went into effect, 89 countries were on the CDC’s Level 4 list, including much of Europe.  On Monday morning at 10:30 a.m. EDT, the agency had not made any changes that would result in a lower count under the Level 4 category.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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