The United States has loosened travel restrictions to 60 countries, including Canada
The US Department of State decided to lower the so-called “travel warnings” for travel to many countries, including among others Canada, Poland, Germany, Italy, France, Mexico, Japan, South Korea and Singapore.
This movement also aims to make life easier for airlines by removing the ban on air travel for people who want to fly around the world, to countries where the coronavirus pandemic is disappearing.
The US Department of State on Tuesday, June 8, 2021, lowered the travel warning from level 4 – “do not travel” to level 3 – “reconsider travel”.
The Department changed its travel recommendations after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have changed the methodology for their travel health information. Previously, the upper limit was 100 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants and is now increased to 500 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
This is the first major update of these warnings since the U.S. State Department published worldwide travel recommendation setting them at level 4 in March 2020, when the pandemic started spreading fast.
The published recommendations are not binding, but they can help airlines and countries set their own travel restrictions. Other countries often apply the principle of reciprocity for US citizens, based on the department’s recommendations.
The Agency – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has changed the methodology to more effectively distinguish countries with severe epidemics from countries with the ongoing but controlled spread of Covid-19.
The easing of the restrictions coincides with the previous arrangements made by the United States, including with the European Union, which recommended the member states to open up to tourists from the USA. Right now, the United States is officially and formally opening the door for its citizens.
The Olympics will take place in Japan in July, so the relaxation of travel restrictions also coincides with this event. The announcement of the latest changes also coincides with the visit of vice-president Kamala Harris to Mexico and on the eve of President Joe Biden’s visit to the UK on the occasion of the G7 summit.
Airlines and some countries have complained that current travel restrictions to the US are not proportional with the rising vaccination rate and reduced risk of developing Covid-19.
National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan in the Washington Post said: “We have heard very clearly the desire of our friends in Europe and the U.K. to be able to reopen travel across the Atlantic Ocean, and we want to see that happen. But we have to follow the science, and we have to follow the guidance of our public health professionals. We’re actively engaging them to determine the time frame.”
In the United States, the number of new infections is at its lowest level since the start of the pandemic in March 2020. Worldwide data every week reports declining cases of Covid-19, the epidemic in India is waning and international community efforts in terms of vaccinations are intensifying.
In the meantime, Canada is planning to ease its restrictions by eliminating obligatory hotel quarantine for Canadian citizens and people with permanent residency status entering Canada, who have taken two doses of the vaccine. However, one will still need to undergo the Covid-19 test upon arrival and have a self-isolation plan until he/she receives the results.