The coronavirus pandemic put the whole world to a stop. The most effective solution to fight the virus was to restrict people from traveling especially crossing borders. Lockdowns were launched, and travel restrictions were established to curb the movement of people. Only frontline workers such as medical officials, military personnel, security services agents, and government officials were allowed to travel as they played a significant role in maintaining order.
These traveling restrictions did not only affect people but the economy and education. In the United States of America, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) classified the covid-19 travel restrictions levels from 1 up to 4. At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic outbreak, all restrictions were pegged at level 4, which is “avoid all travel.” This level was applied throughout the globe as the pandemic was at its peak, with cases of infections surging and death rates rapidly rising.
In the US, the CDC has advised relevant authorities to completely shut down all traveling because cases were rising, and the US recorded over half a million cases. But recently, the CDC has come up with new travel restrictions. The coronavirus pandemic has ruled for a year and a half, and people have adjusted to the situation and are implementing preventive measures. Also, the introduction of vaccines such Oxford-AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna, and Janssen has enabled countries to relax the restrictive laws and lift lockdowns. The US is one of the few countries that have managed to vaccinate many of its citizens. Health reports have recorded that over 40% percent of Americans have received the jabs, and a considerable number of others have been fully vaccinated. Due to this, the CDC has decided to loosen the stern travel and border restrictions.
Initially, traveling was reserved for fully vaccinated individuals, but the CDC has recommended that traveling be extended to others who have received their first jabs. Thus, it has been more than 15 months since the US has been put under restrictive travel laws, which former President Donald Trump approved, and president Joe Biden continued with those same laws.
CDC classified countries’ level of covid-19 restriction depending on a specific criterion. The criterion utilized denoted that any country with 100 covid-19 cases per 100 00 people was on level 4. But CDC has changed this criterion to classify level 4 as countries that record 500 points per 100 000 people. Level 3 is given to nations that have 100 to 500 cases per 100 000 people [Source]. Due to this new criterion, a lot of countries have changed their levels.
The CDC noted that the change was necessary to clearly distinguish between covid-19 hotspots and those nations that have managed to control the rate of infections in their territory. But this department still maintains that this new rating of nations’ level is solely based on the criterion change and the success of those nations in controlling the pandemic outbreak in their country. This means that a government might rate at level 1 or 2 only because it has not recorded 500 cases per 100 000 people, but this does not mean that it is now a safe territory. Also, some countries have managed to lower the number of infections but still have active cases of covid-19 infections.
According to the CDC covid-19 analysis reports, countries that have been categorized into level 3 from level 4 include France, Ecuador, the Philippines, South Africa, Canada, Mexico, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, Honduras n Italy, Hungary, Indonesia, Japan, and Poland. Countries placed on level 2 are Angola, Djibouti, Kenya, and Finland. Those upgraded to level 4 are Haiti, Nicaragua, North Korea, and Uzbekistan [Source].
Singapore, Israel, South Korea, Iceland, Belize, and Albania make up the list of countries with the lowest risks of infections because they have managed to control and contain the spread of the virus, as evidenced by the numbers of infections recorded. In the last 14 days, Non-American citizens have been banned from traveling to the US, and this is because these states were Covid-19 hotspots during that time [Source]. A Covid-19 negative result or recovery certificate is mandatory for everyone who boards any transport heading to the US.
The CDC has loosened these travel restrictions in about 110+ countries, and more are to follow. Still, with the arrival of the Beta variant of the covid-19, which has made the vaccines obsolete, it is yet to be seen whether coronavirus cases do not rise again to the extent of implementing level 4 lockdown restrictions.