The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention moved 22 nations into its highest-risk travel category for Covid-19 on Tuesday. By contrast, it moved only two nations to Level 4, or “very high” risk, last week. According to CNN reporting, the CDC also moved 22 additional nations to its Level 3 category, considered “high” risk for Covid-19. Among the nations moved to Level 4 this week were Argentina and Australia, which have maintained some of the strictest borders controls during most of the pandemic.
Albania at Level 4
In the 22 new group of destinations at Level 4, the CDC lists Albania, Argentina, Australia.
The CDC places a destination at Level 4 when more than 500 cases per 100,000 residents are registered in the past 28 days. The CDC advises travelers to avoid travel to Level 4 countries.
The British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean had the biggest move upward in the list. It was at Level 1 (or “low” risk) last week. Grenada, another Caribbean island, and São Tomé and Príncipe, off the coast of Africa, had been at Level 2 (or “moderate” risk) last week. The other 19 destinations had been at Level 3.
CNN reports that Europe saw only one new entry at Level 4 this week — Albania. European countries like France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom have remained firmly lodged at the CDC’s Level 4 for weeks or months now. Other popular destinations such as Canada and South Africa are also at Level 4. With the addition of 22 new destinations, the Level 4 list now surpasses more than 100 places. You can view the CDC’s risk levels for global destinations on its travel recommendations page. The CDC does not include the United States in its list of advisories. There are now almost 60 destinations at Level 3.
Levels 2, 1
Destinations carrying the “Level 2: Covid-19 Moderate” designation have seen 50 to 99 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days. Kosovo was one of the four new additions on Tuesday. All four destinations were at Level 1 last week.
A “Level 1: Covid-19 Low,” destination has fewer than 50 new cases per 100,000 residents over the past 28 days. No new additions were made on Tuesday. Notable destinations at Level 1 include Japan and Taiwan. Finally, there are destinations for which the CDC has an “unknown” risk because of a lack of information.
On December 30, the CDC increased the risk for cruise ship travel to Level 4 and said it should be avoided, regardless of vaccination status. It remained at Level 4 in the newest update.
Considerations for Travel
Transmission rates are important to consider when making travel decisions, but there are other levels of risk factors depend on the type of activity you plan to engage in while being abroad, experts say. The medical advice is that vaccination is the most significant safety factor for travel since unvaccinated travelers are more likely to become ill and transmit Covid-19 to others. Wearing a high-quality mask — N95, KN95 or KF94 — anytime in crowded indoor settings with people of unknown vaccination status provides an added level of protection against the virus.