The pandemic, which began two years ago, has led to multiple restrictions on travel and daily life. In renewed concern over the global surge in cases, China and parts of Europe are seeing a new spike in cases led by the BA.2 variant of Omicron. Shanghai in China is currently the most affected, where recorded cases exceed 4,400. In contrast, covid cases in India are seeing a sharp decline. As India’s coronavirus cases decline, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday relaxed its COVID-19 travel advisories for India. The CDC, the top US medical body, has downgraded India from Tier 3 (high risk) to Tier 1 (low risk).
The US Department said in a statement: “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a level 1 travel health advisory due to COVID-19, indicating a low level of COVID-19 in the country. Your risk of getting COVID-19 and developing severe symptoms may be lower if you are fully vaccinated with an FDA-cleared vaccine. He further added that “Before planning any international travel, please review the specific CDC recommendations for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers.”
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The CDC uses travel health notices (THNs) to alert travelers to health threats around the world and advise them on how to protect themselves. The CDC has four levels of Covid-19 travel advisories for countries. Here’s everything you need to know about them:
1. Level 1 (low risk): Level 1 of the CDC guidelines includes countries with low risk of Covid, as the name suggests. In its advisory, the CDC advises people to make sure they are “fully immunized before traveling to these destinations.” Currently, this category has more than 30 countries including India, China, Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Taiwan, Uganda.
2. Level 2 (moderate risk): the second level includes countries moderately affected by the pandemic. In this category, the directive asks travelers to be fully vaccinated and those who are not vaccinated at “increased risk of serious illness” to avoid non-essential travel. There are 14 countries in this category, including Bahamas, Bangladesh, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Jamaica, Kyrgyzstan, Malawi, Montserrat, Morocco, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, St. Kitts -and-Nevis and Zambia.
3. Level 3 (high risk): This level includes countries that are high risk countries or those that are heavily affected by covid-19. In this category, all unvaccinated travelers are advised to avoid non-essential travel. This category includes Albania, Cuba, Botswana, Fiji, Ecuador, Indonesia, Peru, Qatar, South Africa, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates, among other countries.
4. Level 4 (very high risk): Level 4 of the CDC guidelines includes countries severely affected by the coronavirus. The CDC advises travelers to avoid full travel to countries in this category. A maximum number of countries fall into this category, including Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Egypt, France , Germany, Hong Kong, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Malaysia, Maldives, South Africa. Korea, Spain, United Kingdom, among others.
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5. Level Unknown: The US agency has another level “unknown” in its list of travel health notices. This includes countries where data on covid-19 cases is not fully known. Countries like North Korea, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen are included in this category. The CDC advises travelers to avoid traveling to these destinations.
Meanwhile, the United States, which has been the worst affected country due to covid-19, has so far recorded more than 81,658,973 cases, with 1,004,244 deaths.