CDC puts Sweden and 2 other locations on “high” risk list for Covid-19

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(CNN) — TThe US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has put a Nordic travel favorite along with two other places on its “high” risk list for Covid-19.

The three destinations, representing three continents, were added to the list on Tuesday:

• Guatemala
• Morocco
• Sweden

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.

All three of Tuesday’s Level 3 additions had previously been at Level 2.

Known for its culture and natural beauty, Sweden is one of the few European nations to even make it off the “high” risk list since the ratings were revised. Along with Romania, it moved up the “moderate” risk list on June 21. This week, Romania remains at Level 2.

As of July 5, there were nearly 115 Level 3 targets. Level 3 locations account for nearly half 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

The village of Oia on the island of Santorini is a popular tourist spot in Greece that remains at Level 3 of the CDC.

The village of Oia on the island of Santorini is a popular tourist spot in Greece that remains at Level 3 of the CDC.

Francesco Riccardo Iacomino/Moment RF/Getty Images

Much of Europe has been stubbornly housed at Level 3 for months with the summer travel season in full swing. As of July 5, 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:

• 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

Baalbek is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Lebanon that has been promoted to the CDCs

Baalbek is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Lebanon that has been classified as a moderate risk category by the CDC.

Luis Dafos/Moment RF/Getty Images

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 three places to this level on Tuesday:

• Jordan
• Lebanon
• North Macedonia

The move was not good news for Jordan and Lebanon in the Middle East, which had been at Stage 1. For North Macedonia in the European Balkans, the move was in a positive direction, having previously been at Level 3.

This week there are 20 places in the “moderate” risk category.

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

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 last 28 days. Only two small island destinations were included in the category on July 5:

• Sheba
• Saint Pierre and Miquelon

Saba in the Caribbean had been at Level 2. St. Pierre and Miquelon, a French archipelago south of Newfoundland, Canada, had been at Level 3.

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

unknown

The Hungarian Parliament can be seen through the arches of the Fisherman's Bastion in Budapest.  The CDC warns against traveling to places where the Covid-19 risk exists

The Hungarian Parliament can be seen through the arches of the Fisherman’s Bastion in Budapest. The CDC warns against traveling to places where the Covid-19 risk is ‘unknown’.

Alexander Spatari/Moment RF/Getty Images

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:

• Haiti
• Hungary
• Iran
• Mozambique

Haiti, Iran and Mozambique were all at Level 1 last week. Hungary, a popular stop on the Eastern European itinerary, had been 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, 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: The island of Tjörn off the west coast of Sweden. (Peter Adams/Stone RF/Getty Images)