The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced two COVID-19 travel-related updates based on close-monitoring of the COVID-19 landscape in the United States and internationally.
The agency continues to monitor the spread of the Omicron variant, especially the BA.2 subvariant that now makes up more than 85% of US cases. Since early April, there have been increases in the 7-day moving average of cases in the US. The CDC mask order remains in effect while CDC assesses the potential impact of the rise of cases on severe disease, including hospitalizations and deaths, and healthcare system capacity. The Transportation Security Administration will extend the security directive and emergency amendment for 15 days, through May 3, 2022.
Secondly, CDC will update its travel health notice system for international destinations. To help the public understand when the level of concern is most urgent, this new system will reserve Level 4 travel health notices 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 3, 2, and 1 will continue to be primarily determined by 28-day incidence or case counts. The new level system will be effective April 18, 2022.
The CDC uses travel health notices to alert travelers, as well as local and state authorities, to health threats around the world, and advise individuals on the best ways to protect themselves before, during, and after travel. With this new configuration, travelers will have a more actionable alert for when they should not travel to a certain destination (Level 4), regardless of vaccination status, until experts have a clearer understanding of the COVID-19 situation at that destination.
In addition, CDC will continue to monitor COVID-19 levels locally, nationally, and abroad to provide the most up-to-date guidance to keep travelers safe and healthy.