US advises travelers to avoid Australia as it joins list of ‘highest risk’ travel destinations

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday moved 22 countries, including Australia, into its highest risk travel category for COVID, moving only two into the Tier 4 category in the week. last.

The Council of the European Union has also removed Australia, along with Argentina and Canada, from their list of countries for which travel restrictions should be lifted.

Watch the video above to hear Qantas announce its international travel plans

Despite maintaining some of the strictest border controls for most of the pandemic, Australia and Argentina could not escape the CDC’s move to Level 4.

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

On Tuesday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) placed Australia in its highest risk travel category for COVID. File picture. Credit: Anadolu Agency/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

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

• Albania• Argentina• Australia• Bahamas• Bahrain• Bermuda• Bolivia• British Virgin Islands• Cape Verde• Egypt• Grenada• Guyana• Israel• Panama• Qatar• Saint Kitts and Nevis• Saint Lucia• São Tomé and Príncipe• Sint Maarten • Suriname• Turks and Caicos Islands • Uruguay

The Tier 4 list now exceeds more than 100 locations, and you can view risk levels for global destinations on the CDC’s travel recommendations page.

The British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean saw the biggest jump up the list, moving into the Tier 1 “low risk” category last week.

Peter Island Resort in the British Virgin Islands
The British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean saw the biggest move up the CDC’s travel list, going from a “lower risk” Tier 1 to a “higher risk” Tier 4 in a week. Credit: PA

Grenada, another Caribbean island, and São Tomé and Príncipe, off the coast of Africa, had been a “moderate risk” level 2 last week.

The other 19 destinations on the list were previously at Level 3 “high risk”.

Where Europe falls on the list

Europe saw only one new CDC Tier 4 entry this week – Albania. That’s because much of Europe has remained firmly in this category for weeks or months now, including some of the biggest names on the continent:

• France• Germany• Greece• Iceland• Ireland• Italy• Spain• United Kingdom

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 CDC also moved 22 additional countries to its Tier 3 category, which is considered “high” risk for COVID.

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 additions on Tuesday:

• Costa Rica• Ivory Coast (Ivory Coast)• Cuba• Fiji• Gabon• Ghana• Jamaica• Kuwait• Madagascar• Malawi• Mauritania• Morocco• Mozambique• Nigeria• Paraguay• Philippines• Saba• Saint-Barthélemy• Saint -Pierre-et- Miquelon• Saint-Eustache• Togo• Uganda

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 two steps up from Tier 1.

There was good news from southeastern African neighbors Malawi and Mozambique, which saw a marginal move from Tier 4 to Tier 3. File image.
There was good news from southeastern African neighbors Malawi and Mozambique, which saw a marginal move from Tier 4 to Tier 3. File image. Credit: Olivier Strewe/Getty Images

The Caribbean islands of Saba, Saint-Barthélemy and Saint-Eustache also dropped from Tier 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.

Cruise ships top the list

The CDC also includes cruise ships on its list of destinations. On Dec. 30, the CDC increased the risk of cruise ship travel to Level 4, where it remained in the latest update.

Cruise ship near the Canary Islands
The CDC includes cruise ships on its list of high-risk destinations — cruise ship travel was raised to Tier 4 late last year. File picture. Credit: APE

Meanwhile, the CDC’s COVID-19 guidelines have become optional for many cruise ships.

Their extended conditional navigation order expired last week, so the agency moved to a voluntary program for foreign-flagged cruise ships operating in US waters.

Travel considerations in a COVID world

Transmission rates are important to consider when making travel decisions, but there are also other factors to weigh, according to Dr. Leana Wen, a CNN medical analyst and professor of policy and management. health.

“Transmission rates are a benchmark,” Dr. Wen said.

“Another is the precautions needed and followed where you are going, and then the third is what you plan to do once there.

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

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