In a surprising move that is sure to be approved by Americans who have been impatiently waiting for their own country to move on from the pandemic like many others have already, the CDC officially ended all country-specific Covid travel advisories on October 3, signaling the U.S. is edging ever closer towards normality.
Throughout the crisis, the CDC – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – famously curated a list of the world’s no-go zones and regions where variants of concern posed a health risk for travelers. For more than two years, Americans were urged to avoid Level 4 destinations, where Covid was rampant, and/or reconsider other travel plans.
Beginning this October, everything changes as Covid ceases to be treated as a serious health threat:
Covid No Longer Seen As An Impediment For Travel For The First Time Since March 2020
33 months after it issued its first travel advisory against China, when chaos first broke out, the CDC is discontinuing its country-by-country Covid travel advisory list, unofficially downgrading the pathogen to the same level of importance as the flu or any other respiratory disease in circulation when it comes to international travel.
Part of the reason why the entity chose to ax the much-criticized report is because fewer countries are mass testing their population. Indeed, across all of Europe and most of the Caribbean, Covid has silently slipped into the background, with countries either choosing to reinstate their 2019 entry guidelines or facilitating travel to the point it’s no longer bureaucratic.
This is a strong indication the darker days of the Coronavirus are well behind us, and the lack of testing and reporting of cases has rendered the CDC lists inaccurate – in their own words. According to a spokesperson, their ability to ‘accurately assess’ risks for Covid has been limited, especially after specific countries stopped tracking infection trends altogether.
You read that right.
A Majority Of Countries Have Had It With Covid
In Portugal, for instance, Covid-infected individuals are no longer required to isolate for any period as of this week, while cases keep falling ever lower. In Mexico, the number one vacation destination for Americans, the Covid Warning System was scrapped as far back as April, with Covid being treated as an endemic disease across the nation.
Moreover, Morocco, Anguilla, and Cambodia, three countries that had enacted some of the toughest entry curbs during the pandemic, all opened up their doors this fall, removing the need for incoming passengers to present Covid proof of entry, whether it’s a valid vaccine certificate or a negative pre-departure test. In sum, the world is moving forward.
The one big exception here is, ironically, the United States of America, which awkwardly became the last North American country of the Free World to still ban unvaccinated non-Americans and impose Covid regulations at the outer borders. However, the fact that the CDC is backing off, at last, shows the U.S. could be changing tactics soon.
For now, Americans no longer have to worry about CDC guidance.
What Does This Mean For Americans Going Abroad?
From October 3, the agency will only issue travel warnings concerning Covid when a new dangerous variant is identified or ‘other situation that would change the CDC’s travel recommendations’ is picked up. Despite this, they will keep encouraging Americans to get vaccinated ahead of traveling abroad, even if that’s not a requirement at their destination.
Officially, the CDC advises citizens to be ‘up to date’ with their Covid vaccination, meaning individuals are best protected against the virus when they have fulfilled an initial vaccination course and followed it up with ‘any boosters’ for which they are eligible. Nevertheless, the scrapping of the list marks a watershed moment for the U.S. in its handling of the crisis.
CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen explains why: we’re approaching a phase of the pandemic where people are allowed to assess their own risks and make their own decisions, ‘based on medical circumstances as well as their risk tolerance when it comes to contracting Covid-19‘, and that involves deciding for themselves whether they should be vaccinated or not.
And, of course, where they should travel, as opposed to having a health entity categorize different destinations as safe or unsafe. With each passing day, Americans get closer to a sense of freedom and normality they have not experienced since before the virus hit, and we will surely be covering this in detail each step of the way.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com