US health agency relaxes travel advice for several countries

NEW YORK (AP) — If Taiwan or Greenland is in your travel plans, U.S. public health officials say you can go ahead and pack your bags.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday revised its travel advisory information. Previously, the agency told U.S. travelers to avoid all nonessential international travel because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, it says such travel is fine — but only to about 20 locations.

Seven places, including Thailand, Fiji and New Zealand, are in a low-risk group. CDC officials advise only that certain people, such as older adults and those with certain underlying medical conditions, talk to their doctors before making the trip.

For more than a dozen other locations, CDC has no precautions. Taiwan, Greenland, and Laos are on that list.

But the CDC continues to advise against non-essential travel to more than 200 other international locations.

In a statement Thursday, CDC officials said the changes were driven by how the virus was spreading in different places, and how well the public health and health-care systems were functioning in dealing with new cases.

The change in travel advice from the public health agency is expected to be followed by a similar revision to the State Department’s global travel advisory.