CDC places 22 new destinations in its highest travel risk tier

(CNN) — On Tuesday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention moved 22 countries into its highest risk travel category for Covid-19. On the other hand, it only moved two countries to level 4, or “very high” risk, last week.

Adding to the impact: The CDC also moved 22 additional countries to its Tier 3 category, which is considered “high” risk for Covid-19.

Among the nations moving to Tier 4 this week were Argentina and Australia, which have maintained some of the strictest border controls for most of the pandemic.

The CDC places a destination at Level 4 when more than 500 cases per 100,000 population are recorded in the past 28 days. The CDC advises travelers to avoid traveling to Tier 4 countries.

Egypt, where the Giza pyramids are a huge draw for tourists, entered the CDC’s high-risk category for travel on Tuesday.

Safin Hamed/AFP via Getty Images

The 22 new destinations, with at least one entry from every continent except Antarctica, at Tier 4 are:

• Albania
• Argentina
• Australia
• Bahamian
• Bahrain
• Bermuda
• Bolivia
• British Virgin Islands
• Green cap
• Egypt
• Pomegranate
• Guyana
• Israel
• Panama
• Qatar
• Saint Kitts and Nevis
• Sao Tome and Principe
• Saint-Martin
• Suriname
• Turks and Caicos Islands
• Uruguay

The British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean saw the biggest move up the list. He 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 were at Level 3.

Situation in Europe

Europe only saw one new Tier 4 entry this week: Albania. This is because much of Europe has remained firmly entrenched in CDC Level 4 for weeks or months now. They include some of the biggest names on the continent:

• France
• Germany
• Greece
• Iceland
• Italy
• Spain
• UK

Other popular destinations such as Canada and South Africa are also in Tier 4. With the addition of 22 new destinations, the Tier 4 list now exceeds over 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 advisory list, but it was color-coded to Level 4 on January 18 on the agency’s travel risk levels map.
In its broader travel guidelines, the CDC recommended avoiding all international travel until you are fully immunized.

Tier 3 Additions

The Tier 3 category – which applies to destinations that have had between 100 and 500 cases per 100,000 population in the past 28 days – also saw a staggering 22 new on Tuesday:

•Costa Rica
• Ivory Coast (Ivory Coast)
• Cuba
• Fiji
• Gabon
• Ghana
• Jamaica
• Kuwait
• Madagascar
• Mauritania
• Morocco
• Mozambique
• Nigeria
• Paraguay
• The Philippines
• Saba
• Saint Barthélemy
• Saint Pierre and Miquelon
• Saint Eustache
• Go
• Uganda

People line up to get children vaccinated in San Jose, Costa Rica, on January 12.  Costa Rica moved to Level 3 this week in CDC travel advisories.

People line up to get children vaccinated in San Jose, Costa Rica, on January 12. Costa Rica moved to Level 3 this week in CDC travel advisories.

Ezequiel Becerra/AFP/Getty Images

There has been good news from southeastern African neighbors Malawi and Mozambique, both of which have moved up from Tier 4.

The move to Tier 3 was bad news for Ivory Coast, Ghana, Morocco and Uganda in Africa, all of which moved up two notches from Tier 1. The Caribbean islands of Saba, St. Barthelemy and Saint-Eustache also moved from level 1, as did Paraguay in South America and the Philippines in Southeast Asia.

Half of the new Tier 3 locations this week moved from Tier 2: Costa Rica, Cuba, Gabon, Jamaica, Madagascar, Mauritania, Nigeria, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Togo, Fiji, and Kuwait.

There are now nearly 60 Tier 3 destinations.

Levels 2, 1 and unknown

Destinations with the designation “Tier 2: Moderate Covid-19” have recorded 50 to 99 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 population in the past 28 days. This level saw four new additions on Tuesday:

• Djibouti
• India
• Kosovo
• Montserrat

All four destinations were at Level 1 last week.

To be at “Level 1: Covid-19 Low”, a destination must have registered fewer than 50 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 28 days. No new additions were made on Tuesday. Notable Tier 1 destinations include Japan and Taiwan.

Finally, there are destinations for which the CDC has an “unknown” risk due to lack of information. Usually, but not always, these are small, remote locations. On Tuesday, the distant Sultanate of Brunei was added to the unknown group.


Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas departs Port Canaveral, Florida on January 11, 2021.

Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas departs Port Canaveral, Florida on January 11, 2021.

Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/AP

On Dec. 30, the CDC raised the risk of cruise ship travel to level 4 and said it should be avoided, regardless of vaccination status. It remained at level 4 in the last update.

Travel Considerations

Transmission rates are important to consider when making travel decisions, but there are also other factors to weigh, according to Dr. Leana Wen, CNN medical analyst, emergency physician and professor of politics and science. health management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.

“Transmission rates are a benchmark,” Wen said. “Another is what precautions are needed and followed where you are going, and then the third is what you plan to do once you get there.

“Are you planning on visiting a lot of attractions and going to indoor bars? It’s very different from going somewhere where you plan to lay on the beach all day and not interact with anyone outside. “other. It’s very different. It’s 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.

She said people should wear a high-quality mask – N95, KN95 or KF94 – whenever they are in crowded indoor settings with people whose vaccination status is unknown.

Before traveling, it’s also important to think about what you would do if you ended up testing positive away from home, Wen said. Where will you be staying and how easy will it be to take a test to return home?

Top image: The Sydney city skyline can be seen as people party on boats at Athol Beach in Sydney, Australia on January 15.

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