The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released its latest travel guidance, and is warning Americans against traveling to seven new destinations due to the coronavirus pandemic. The CDC moved France, Portugal, Andorra, Cyprus, Jordan, Liechtenstein and Tanzania to its highest Level 4 “Do Not Travel” category, indicating a “Very High” rate of transmission.
The CDC classifies destinations as Level 4 “Very High” if there are 500 or more new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents within a 28-day time period. The health agency recommends Americans avoid traveling to any country with Level 4 status; those that must travel are advised to be fully vaccinated beforehand.
France, Portugal, Andorra, Cyprus, Jordan and Liechtenstein were all previously labeled within the Level 3 category, which the CDC defines as between 100 and 500 cases per 100,000 residents over 28 days.
France recently instituted new COVID-19 restrictions amid a surge in cases, including closing all nightclubs for the next month, and requiring all visitors from outside the E.U. to provide a negative COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours of their intended arrival, as well as proof of full vaccination status.
The CDC’s new travel advisory comes amid increased concerns over the developing Omicron variant, which was first detected in South Africa on November 24. Shortly thereafter, the Biden administration announced new travel restrictions on foreign nationals who had been to South Africa or seven other African countries within the prior two-week period. The ban does not extend to U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
The White House also instated new travel rules, requiring anyone who has been traveling internationally to provide a negative COVID-19 test within a one-day period of boarding their flight; the previous requirement allowed a negative test within three days before the flight. In addition, President Joe Biden announced an extension through March 18 of the federal mask mandate that requires all passengers on planes, trains and buses to wear face masks; the mandate was supposed to end in mid-January.