The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. State Department have each downgraded their travel advisories for Canada, which recently began allowing vaccinated American tourists to cross its borders.
The State Department moved the country from level 3, “reconsider travel,” to level 2, “exercise increased caution,” on Tuesday. The CDC also moved the country from level 3,indicating a high level of COVID-19, to level 2, a moderate level, this week.
The State Department says travelers heading to level 2 countries should “be aware of heightened risks to safety and security.” The CDC advises travelers to make sure they are fully vaccinated and warns that unvaccinated travelers at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should avoid nonessential travel to level 2 destinations.
►Vaccinated Americans can enter Canada:Here are 11 things to know before a trip
►’Let’s get this thing going’:Canada opens border to fully vaccinated Americans for travel
Canada began to welcome back fully vaccinated American citizens and permanent residents on Monday.
Nearly 63% of Canada’s population has been fully vaccinated, according to data from Johns Hopkins, and the country reported 9,765 new cases in the past week. Meanwhile, the U.S. reported 817,052 cases in the past week with nearly 51% of its population fully vaccinated.
Despite Canada’s move to reopen its borders to vaccinated American travelers, the U.S. extended its border restrictions for nonessential travel last month. The restrictions, which affect land and ferry travel at its borders with Canada and Mexico, are set to remain in place until at least Aug. 21.
The CDC also moved several destinations to its highest travel advisory tier earlier this week. As of Monday, the agency warns that Americans should avoid travel to France, Israel, Iceland, Aruba, Eswatini, French Polynesia and Thailand, regardless of vaccination status.
Greece, Ireland, the U.S. Virgin Islands and other destinations were added to the CDC’s Level 4 advisory list earlier this month as countries around the globe grapple with the highly contagious delta variant.
In an interview with the USA TODAY Editorial Board last week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, said CDC guidance urging people to limit themselves to travel only when necessary still holds.
The CDC recommends all travelers, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks, self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and get tested three to five days after they travel. On top of those travel precautions, the agency also recommends that unvaccinated travelers get tested one to three days before leaving the U.S. and that they self-quarantine after travel for up to 10 days.
All passengers ages 2 and older flying into the United States must present a negative coronavirus test taken no more than three days before their flight or proof they recovered from the virus within the past three months.
►Travel guidance:CDC says travelers should avoid France, Israel and other destinations
►International travel:CDC says travelers should avoid France, Israel and other destinations
Contributing: Julia Thompson, USA TODAY. Follow USA TODAY reporter Bailey Schulz on Twitter: @bailey_schulz.