Ireland has been downgraded to “Level 3: High Level of COVID-19“ on the CDC’s COVID-19 Travel Health Notice system as part of a sweeping change from the US agency.

The downgrade comes more than eight months after Ireland had been placed on the CDC's “Level 4 - Very High Level of COVID-19” in August.

Ireland’s downgrade on the advisory list was part of a sweeping change rolled out by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) in the US on Monday, April 18. There are now no countries on Level 4, and more than 120 countries on Level 3, including Ireland and the rest of Europe.

The CDC said in a statement on April 13 that it would be updating its Travel Health Notice system for international destinations from April 18. As part of the update, Level 4 travel health notices are now reserved "for special circumstances, such as rapidly escalating case trajectory or extremely high case counts, emergence of a new variant of concern, or healthcare infrastructure collapse.

“Levels 3, 2, and 1 will continue to be primarily determined by 28-day incidence or case counts.”

The CDC added: “With this new configuration, travelers will have a more actionable alert for when they should not travel to a certain destination (Level 4), regardless of vaccination status, until we have a clearer understanding of the COVID-19 situation at that destination.”

The CDC’s Level 3 designation is determined by incidence rate (cumulative new cases over the past 28 days per 100,000 population) and new case trajectory (Have daily new cases increased, decreased, or remained stable over the past 28 days?)

According to Ireland's COVID-19 Data Hub, there have been 1,505,568 PCR-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ireland up to Monday, April 18. There were 778 PCR-confirmed cases on Monday, April 18, and 1,641 registered positive antigen tests on Tuesday, April 19.

The CDC advises the following for all destinations on Level 3, including Ireland:

  • Make sure you are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines before traveling to Ireland.
  • If you are not up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines, avoid travel to Ireland.
  • Even if you are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines, you may still be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19.
  • Anyone 2 years or older should properly wear a well-fitting mask in indoor public spaces.
  • If you have a weakened immune system or are at increased risk for severe disease, even if you are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines, talk with your clinician about your risk, and consider delaying travel to Ireland.
    Follow all requirements and recommendations in Ireland.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the US State Department has not yet updated its webpage for Ireland's travel advisories in line with the CDC as Ireland is still on the "Level 4: Do Not Travel" advisory that was issued in August.

Just over a month ago, Ireland scrapped its Covid-19 requirements for incoming travelers. As of March 6, travelers to Ireland are not required to show proof of vaccination, proof of recovery, or a negative PCR test result upon arrival. There are also no post-arrival testing or quarantine requirements for travelers to Ireland. 

If you are planning on traveling to Ireland, you are encouraged to stay up-to-date with its travel advice and restrictions here.

While Ireland has scrapped requirements for incoming travelers, the US still has restrictions in place: "All air passengers 2 years or older with a flight departing to the US from a foreign country at or after 12:01 am EST (5:01 am GMT) on December 6, 2021, are required to show a negative COVID-19 viral test result taken no more than 1 day before travel, or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days, before they board their flight. Air passengers will also be required to confirm in the form of an attestation that the information they present is true."

Also this week, the CDC’s order requiring masks on public transportation conveyances and at transportation hubs is no longer in effect after a court order struck it down. The CDC says it "continues to recommend that people wear masks in indoor public transportation settings at this time," while the White House said that the Department of Homeland Security and the CDC are reviewing the "disappointing" decision.

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