CDC Adds 2 Destinations to “High” Risk List for Covid-19

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(CNN) — TThe US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have added two destinations to its “high” category for Covid-19 risk – including a Caribbean nation known for its beaches.

That Dominican Republic and Kuwait, a Middle Eastern country known for its cultural offerings, both are now listed as Level 3: Covid-19 High.

Level 3, or “high”, is now the top level in terms of risk level and applies to places that have had more than 100 cases per 100,000 population in the last 28 days. Level 2 and Level 1 are considered “moderate” and “low” risk, respectively.

Level 4, previously the highest risk category, is now reserved only for special circumstances such as: B. extremely high case numbers, the emergence of a new variant of concern or the collapse of the health infrastructure. No targets have been placed at level 4 under the new system.

In a weekly update with little movement overall, Monday’s rise to Level 3 is a big leap up for Kuwait, which had been at Level 1. Dominican Republic moved up from level 2.

As of June 27, there were nearly 115 Level 3 targets. Level 3 locations account for nearly half of the approximately 235 locations monitored by the CDC.

More on level 3

Much of Europe has been stubbornly housed at Level 3 for months with the summer travel season in full swing. As of June 27, the following popular European destinations were among those remaining at Tier 3:

• France
• Germany
• Greece
• Ireland
• Italy
• The Netherlands
• Norway
• Portugal
• Spain
• United Kingdom

Sightseeing ships offer great views of Istanbul.  Turkey is at Level 3 of the CDC.

Sightseeing ships offer great views of Istanbul. Turkey is at Level 3 of the CDC.

Nikolay N. Antonov/Adobe Stock

These aren’t the only high-profile locations to be found at Tier 3. Numerous other destinations around the world are among those in the “high” risk category, including the following:

• Brazil
• Canada
• Costa Rica
• Malaysia
• Mexico
• South Korea
• Thailand
• Turkey

The CDC advises you to get up to date on your Covid-19 vaccines before traveling to a Tier 3 destination. Being ‘up to date’ means that you have not only received the full initial vaccinations, but also all the booster vaccinations that you are entitled to.

level 2

A late afternoon view of Journalist Park in Bogota, Colombia.  The South American nation is now at level 2.

A late afternoon view of Journalist Park in Bogota, Colombia. The South American nation is now at level 2.

Danaan Andrew-Pacleb/Adobe Stock

Destinations labeled “Level 2: Covid-19 Moderate” reported 50 to 100 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 residents over the past 28 days. The CDC moved up four spots to this level on Monday:

• Colombia
• Iraq
• Russia
• Saudi Arabia

The move was not good news for Colombia, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, which had been at Tier 1.

There are a total of 21 places in the “moderate” risk category this week.

In its broader travel advice, the CDC has recommended avoiding all international travel until you are fully vaccinated.

level 1

The Taj Mahal mausoleum is pictured in the Indian city of Agra on March 11, 2018.  / AFP PHOTO / Ludovic MARIN (Photo credit should read LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP via Getty Images)

The Taj Mahal is India’s most famous structure. India is currently at Tier 1.

Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty Images

To be listed as Level 1: Covid-19 Low, a destination must have had 49 or fewer new cases per 100,000 people in the past 28 days. No new targets were added to the category on June 27th.

Some of the most popular low risk locations this week are Indonesia, India and the Philippines.


Finally, there are the targets that the CDC has classified as an “unknown” risk due to a lack of information. Usually, but not always, these are small, remote places or places with ongoing wars or civil unrest.

Rarely visited this week Djibouti in the Horn of Africa has been added to this category.

The CDC advises against traveling to these locations precisely because the risks are unknown. Other destinations in this category that usually attract more tourist attention are French Polynesia, Macau and the Maldives.

A medical expert weighs the risk levels

According to CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen, the transmission rates are only “a guide” for travelers’ personal risk calculations.

We have entered “a phase of the pandemic where people must make their own decisions based on their medical circumstances as well as their risk tolerance when it comes to contracting Covid-19,” said Wen, the emergency room doctor and professor is in health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.

According to Wen, there are other factors to consider in addition to transfer rates.

“Another is what precautions are needed and followed at the place, and the third is what you want to do once you’re there,” she said.

“Planning to visit many attractions and go to indoor bars? This is very different than going somewhere where you lie on the beach all day and don’t want to interact with anyone. This is very different. Those are very different levels of risk.”

Vaccination is the most important safety factor for travel, as unvaccinated travelers are more likely to get sick and transmit Covid-19 to others, Wen said.

And it’s also important to consider what you would do if you tested positive while away from home.

“Of course, if people have symptoms or exposure while traveling, they need to get tested, and if they test positive, they need to follow the CDC’s isolation guidelines,” Wen recently told CNN Travel.
If you are concerned about a travel specific health situation not related to Covid-19, check here.

Picture above: Tropical beach in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. (Valentin Valkov/Adobe Stock)