US Health Watchdog Eases Travel Restrictions for 110 Countries, Bulgaria Including
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has eased travel recommendations for more than 110 countries and territories, including Japan just ahead of the Olympics. The CDC's new ratings, first reported by Reuters and posted on a CDC website on Monday, include 61 nations that were lowered from its highest "Level 4" rating that discouraged all travel to recommending travel for fully vaccinated individuals, the agency confirmed on Tuesday.
Along with Bulgaria, an additional 50 countries and territories have been lowered to "Level 2" or "Level 1," a CDC spokeswoman said. Countries ranked lowest for Covid-19 risks now include Singapore, Israel, South Korea, Iceland, Belize and Albania.
Among those now listed at "Level 3," are France, Ecuador, the Philippines, South Africa, Canada, Mexico, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, Honduras, Hungary and Italy.
The US State Department said it had updated its recommendations to reflect the recent methodology update, but noted not all ratings were revised because of other factors including " commercial flight availability, restrictions on US citizen entry, and impediments to obtaining Covid test results within three calendar days."
On 24 May, the State Department had urged against travel to Japan, citing a new wave of coronavirus cases before the Tokyo Olympics are set to begin on 23 July, Reuters recalls.
The State Department warning raised concerns and prompted the White House to reaffirm its support for Tokyo's plan to hold the Games this summer and for U.S. athletes competing there despite a new wave of infections and a low vaccination rate in the host country.
Foreign spectators have been banned, and organisers are expected to make a decision late this month...