By Callum Keown
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued updated travel advice, easing restrictions on more than 100 countries and opening up more destinations to COVID-19 vaccinated Americans.
The CDC updated its country-by-country travel recommendations earlier this week, clearing fully vaccinated Americans to visit a number of new countries, including France, Italy, Spain and Germany. The update also gives specific advice for fully vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers, and better differentiates countries with “severe outbreak situations” from those with “sustained, but controlled” COVID-19 spread , the CDC said.
All air passengers arriving in the U.S., including U.S. citizens returning from vacation, need a negative COVID-19 test result before boarding their U.S.-bound flight, the CDC added.
The public health agency moved a number of countries from the Level 4 rating, its highest, to Level 3. The CDC recommends people avoid travel to countries in the “very high” Level 4 category, whereas fully vaccinated travelers can visit Level 3 countries. South Africa, Canada, Mexico and Russia are also among those moved down to Level 3, along with Japan, which is set to host the delayed 2020 Summer Olympics next month.
However, unvaccinated travelers should still avoid nonessential travel to those areas, the CDC advised. Whether Americans can travel to any destination also depends on those countries’ own restrictions. For example, Spain has opened its borders to anyone who has been vaccinated against COVID-19 — barring a few countries such as India with highly contagious variants — while other countries have a color-coded system of entry.
The U.K. remains in Level 3 but, as the U.S. is on the country’s “amber list,” vaccinated Americans would have to quarantine for 10 days on arrival.
More than 60 countries remain in the highest category, including Argentina, India, Brazil, Cuba, North Korea and the Netherlands. Before the CDC’s update, 140 countries were in the Level 4 category.
A further 50 countries have been moved from the moderate-risk Level 2 category to the low-risk Level 1, a CDC spokeswoman confirmed to Reuters , which first reported the update. The low Level 1 category now includes Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, South Korea and Singapore.
Hopes of a summer holiday season were given a further boost on Wednesday, as European Union lawmakers approved a new travel certificate that allows people to move between European countries without having to quarantine or take extra COVID-19 tests. The certificate will be issued to people fully vaccinated, or who have recently tested negative or recently recovered from the disease.
European airlines enjoyed gains on Wednesday, with German carrier Deutsche Lufthansa (ETR:XE:LHA) up 3%, Air France-KLM (PAR:FR:AF) 4.1% higher and British Airways owner IAG (LON:UK:IAG) climbing close to 4%.
Shares in United Airlines (NAS:UAL) and American Airlines (NAS:AAL) were both modestly higher in premarket trading on Wednesday.