CDC moves up 4 spots in high-risk travel category

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(CNN) — The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has classified two South American travel destinations, a Middle Eastern country and a North African nation in the “high” risk category for travel.

Four targets were moved to Tier 3 or “high” risk on Monday:

• Bolivia
• Lebanon
• Peru
• Tunisia

Peru, known for the culinary excellence of its capital and notable Inca ruins in the Andes, was previously classified at Level 2, “moderate” risk. Bolivia, Lebanon and Tunisia were also listed at Level 2 last week.

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.

As of July 11, there were approximately 115 Level 3 targets. Level 3 locations account for nearly 50% of the approximately 235 locations monitored by the CDC.

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.

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 July 11, the following popular European destinations were among those remaining at Tier 3:

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

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:

• 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.
The South Pacific island nation of Fiji followed suit

The South Pacific island nation of Fiji switched to the “moderate” risk level on Monday.

SCStock/Adobe Stock

level 2

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

Fiji moved up from the Level 1 risk category, “low”.

There are 16 places this week in the “moderate” risk category.

In its broader travel advice, the CDC recommends keeping up to date with your vaccines before traveling abroad.

level 1

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. Only one location was included in the category on July 11: Romania.

The move to Level 1 is good news for Romania, who were listed in Level 2 last week.

This week there are more than 40 places in the “low” risk category.

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. Four locations were added to this category this week:

• Armenia
• Laos
• Liberia
• Mongolia

Armenia and Liberia were previously listed at Level 1. Laos and Mongolia were listed at Level 3.

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, transfer rates are just “a guide” to 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 physician 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.

Top image: A view across the valley of the Pinkuylluna archaeological site in Peru. (Anna Gorin/Moment RF/Getty Images)