The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say it has dropped its Covid-19 “do not travel” recommendations for about 90 international destinations, including Ireland.
Last week, the CDC announced that it was revising its travel recommendations and adding Level 4 travel health advice “for special circumstances, such as:
Countries and other regions that have fallen to “Level 3: High,” which still discourages unvaccinated Americans from traveling, include Ireland, the United Kingdom, most of Europe, Israel, Australia, Hong Kong and New Zealand.
US citizens traveling to Ireland is now advised to “ensure you are up to date with your Covid-19 vaccines before travelling”.
The CDC does not currently list countries at “Level 4,” a category it has renamed “Special Circumstances/No Travel.”
The US State Department said last week it also plans to severely limit “Do Not Travel” notices for international destinations.
Out of about 215 countries and territories it assesses, the ministry currently lists almost 120 as “Level 4: No Travel”, inclusive Irelandmuch of Europe, Japan, Israel and Russia.
It said its update, also expected this week, “will leave around 10 per cent of all travel advice at Level 4”, including all risk factors, not just Covid.
Both the State Department and CDC travel advisories are issued for guidance and not as a legal requirement for travelers.
However, they can have a dampening effect on holiday and business travel and any relaxation of recommendations is likely to be welcomed by a recovering Irish tourism industry.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration will no longer enforce a U.S. mask mandate on public transit after a federal judge in Florida ruled the 14-month-old directive was unlawful.
United Airlines, American, Delta, Southwest Airlines, JetBlue and Alaska Airlines said masks are now optional on their planes.
The Amtrak national rail line also eased restrictions with immediate effect.
The move could impact travel demand, which has roared back after a blip caused by the Omicron variant coronavirus.
U.S. passenger traffic has averaged about 89 percent of pre-pandemic levels since mid-February, according to TSA data.
Last week, US health officials had extended the mandate until May 3, but administration officials said that while authorities were evaluating possible next steps, the court’s decision meant it was no longer in effect.
The ruling comes as Covid-19 infections are on the rise again in the US, with an average of 36,251 new infections reported per day and 460 daily deaths based on a seven-day moving average – the highest number reported in the total Covid-19 deaths worldwide.
The White House called the ruling “disappointing” and could still choose to appeal the order or request an urgent delay in its execution.
The CDC recommends that people continue to wear masks on indoor public transportation.
– Additional reporting by Mike Stone, Jeff Mason and Jason Lange, Rajesh Kumar Singh, Pol Ó Conghaile
https://www.independent.ie/life/travel/travel-news/cdc-lifts-do-not-travel-advice-for-ireland-as-us-axes-mask-mandate-for-public-transport-41565328.html CDC lifts ‘do not travel’ recommendation for Ireland as US axes mask public transport mandate