The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) placed Mexico at the highest risk level for a travel destination on June 13, advising travelers to be up to date with their vaccinations or avoid traveling to Mexico.
The popular tourist destination for Americans was moved to Level 3 for travel risk on June 13. COVID-19 cases have been on the rise in Mexico since May 30, averaging around 4,500 cases last week.
Along with Mexico, New Caledonia and the United Arab Emirates were also added to Level 3 for travel risk on June 13.
Cases in New Caledonia averaged 42 cases per day, with no new cases on June 13, while the United Arab Emirates recorded around 1,300 new cases on June 13, averaging just over 1,000 cases in the course of the last seven days.
On April 18, the CDC revised its travel risk rating system. Level 3 is now considered the ‘high’ category of travel risk, while Level 4 is reserved for special circumstances.
A level 3 travel risk means there have been more than 100 new cases per 100,000 population, while a level 4 risk indicates a strong recommendation to avoid the destination.
The news comes as the federal government scrapped negative COVID-19 testing requirements on June 10 for international air travelers entering the United States.
CDC “will end COVID-19 testing requirement for air travelers entering the country,” said White House spokesman Kevin Munoz on Twitter, adding that it will “assess its need based on science and in the context of circulating variants.”
In recent days, travel industry groups have pressed the Biden administration to end the mandatory testing requirement, describing the rule as harmful and unnecessary.
Several countries have already dropped negative test requirements to enter their respective countries in recent months. This includes Canada, which in April dropped its pre-arrival testing requirement for vaccinated people.
Roger Dow of the US Travel Association said that as COVID-19 restrictions on many other businesses have been lifted, “the travel industry remains disproportionately affected by this requirement”.
“Other countries we directly compete with for global travelers have removed their pre-departure testing requirements and reopened their tourism economies, putting the United States at a serious competitive disadvantage for export dollars.” , Dow said in a May 31 statement after travel industry executives met. with White House staff.
Jack Phillips contributed to this report.