Many Americans, long fed up with travel restrictions, will likely ignore the CDC's warning — which would be a huge relief to Canadian businesses that still haven't recouped the billions of dollars lost due to the U.S.-Canada border being closed for much of the pandemic.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday advised against travel to Canada because of a rising number of COVID-19 cases.
The CDC elevated its travel recommendation to “Level Four: Very High” for Canada, telling Americans they should avoid travel to its northern neighbor. The CDC currently lists about 80 destinations worldwide at Level Four. It also raised the island of Curaçao to Level Four on Monday.
The United States in November lifted restrictions at its land borders with Canada and Mexico for fully vaccinated foreign nationals, ending historic curbs on non-essential travelers in place since March 2020 to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
Canada remains one of the top foreign destinations for Americans.
The Canadian government did not immediately comment Monday.
Last month, Canada’s government implored residents not to leave the country for non-essential travel.
Canada advised residents in March 2020 not to travel abroad for non-essential reasons like tourism. It withdrew the notice in October – before the first Omicron cases were reported – citing the success of vaccination campaigns.
The CDC on Monday also lowered travel recommendations from Level Four to “Level 3: High” to Armenia, Belarus, Lesotho and Zimbabwe. It also rate Singapore as “Level 3,” after it previously was listed as unknown.
The CDC says Americans should be fully vaccinated before traveling to Level 3 destinations.
COVID-19 hospitalizations in the United States reached a fresh high of 132,646, according to a Reuters tally on Monday, surpassing the record of 132,051 set in January last year, amid a surge of the highly contagious Omicron variant.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; additional reporting by David Ljunggren, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Aurora Ellis)
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Photo credit: A view of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention headquarters