The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reduced the warning levels for more than 110 countries and territories on Monday.
This was done to allow them to better differentiate between countries where the COVID-19 pandemic is “sustained but controlled” and where the outbreak situation is “severe.”
Included in its group of lowered countries were 61 that had been at level 4, the highest one. Remaining at level 4 are places such as Brazil and India. Amongst the 61 that are now at level 3 are Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey. The CDC still recommends against nonessential travel to those places unless the traveler is vaccinated.
Meanwhile, countries that have been moved to level 1, the lowest one, include Albania, Belize, Iceland, Israel, Singapore and South Korea. According to the CDC, travelers looking to go to those places should still be vaccinated prior to departing.
Previously, the criteria for a country to be placed into level 4 included it having 500 confirmed cases per 100,000 residents. This is now 100 per 100,000. That move is in addition to assessing how controlled or not controlled the COVID-19 situation is in a country.
It should also be noted that factors such as commercial flight availability and how easy or difficult it is to receive a PCR test result in these countries have not been considered by the CDC.
Those who were hoping to attend the Summer Olympics, scheduled to take place in Japan from July 23 to Aug. 8, should note that all foreigners remain banned from entering the country for the purpose of attending those sports events or for other nonessential reasons.
Meanwhile, Japanese spectators might be able to attend them, but a final decision has not been made on if that will be possible or not.