Starting Monday (April 18), the CDC is changing its Travel Health Notice System for COVID-19 with the biggest impact being that fewer countries will end up classified under the highest level.
Countries listed under Level 4 – the highest level – are deemed by the CDC to have a very high level of COVID incidence and should be avoided by all travelers, even if fully vaccinated and boosted.
The agency said that Level 4 will be reserved 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.”
Levels 1, 2, and 3 (low, moderate, and high) will continue to be based upon 28-day incidence or case counts.
As of Sunday, 89 countries were on the CDC’s Level 4 list, including much of Europe.
The agency said the change was being done “to help the public understand when the highest level of concern is most urgent.”
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The CDC’s decision comes as international air travel is starting to pick up and airlines are adding more capacity in anticipation of the summer travel season.