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The CDC Just Updated Its International Travel Guidelines

Planning an international trip? Check the new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) first. The agency just issued new advice for travelers, offering destination-specific recommendations for both vaccinated and unvaccinated Americans.

The new guidelines (which cover more than 120 countries) categorize countries into four different levels of COVID-19 infections: 

Level 4 COVID-19 Very High: “Avoid travel to these destinations. If you must travel to these destinations, make sure you are fully vaccinated before travel.”

Level 3 COVID-19 High: “Make sure you are fully vaccinated before traveling to these destinations. Unvaccinated travelers should avoid nonessential travel to these destinations.”

Level 2 COVID-19 Moderate: “Make sure you are fully vaccinated before traveling to these destinations. Unvaccinated travelers who are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should avoid nonessential travel to these destinations.”

Level 1 COVID-19 Low: “Make sure you are fully vaccinated before travel to these destinations.”

This most recent update from the CDC uses new, more accurate criteria for categorizing different destinations, that look to differentiate “countries with severe outbreak situations” from those in which COVID-19 is “sustained, but controlled.” The CDC uses COVID-19 data reported by the World Health Organization and other official sources in order to determine warning levels. If no data is reported, the CDC recommends travelers treat a destination as a Level 4.  

This new update moves 33 previously higher risk countries (like Iceland and Singapore) into Level 1, the lowest risk category. 

Additionally, the new guidelines give specific advice for travelers based upon their vaccination status. For example, the CDC advises unvaccinated travelers to avoid visiting Portugal but gives the green light for fully-vaccinated tourists to go.

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