CDC drops traveler health notices for individual countries

WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal government is scrapping another of its responses to the pandemic.

On Monday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention dropped its country-by-country COVID-19 travel health notices that it began issuing early in the pandemic.

The reason: Fewer countries are testing for the virus or reporting the number of COVID-19 cases. That limits the CDC’s ability to calculate travelers’ risk, according to the agency.

CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund said the agency will only post a travel health notice for an individual country if a situation such as a troubling new variant of the virus changes CDC travel recommendations for that country.

The CDC still recommends that travelers remain up to date on vaccines and follow recommendations found on its international travel page.

That page divides countries into three categories – practice usual precautions, enhanced precautions or avoid nonessential travel.

Restrictions such as testing and quarantine requirements greatly slowed international travel earlier in the pandemic, but many countries eventually lifted those rules for fully vaccinated and boosted people to increase tourism.

In early 2020, before vaccines were available, the United States barred people who had recently been in any of more than three dozen countries. In 2021, the U.S. instead began requiring people to test negative for COVID-19 shortly before boarding planes to the U.S. That rule too was eventually dropped.

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