CDC Adds Nations to ‘High Risk’ Travel Category


Luggage at an airport | Image by Shutterstock

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has added six more countries to the high-risk category of its COVID-19 Travel Recommendations list.

Two Central American countries, El Salvador and Honduras, were among the six, all of which were designated as Level 3, “high-risk” destinations. Bangladesh, Fiji, Poland, Bosnia, and Herzegovina were other nations added to the list.

Level 3 became a top rank regarding the risk level of the virus in April, when the CDC decided to create the rating system to qualify the COVID-19 risk for travelers to these nations.

The designation applies to places or countries that reported more than 100 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days. The CDC advises citizens against visiting the listed locations.

As of July 25, there were more than 120 destinations on Level 3 of the travel restrictions. The Level 3 destinations account for about half of the 235 designations the CDC had put on alert and keenly monitored.

The CDC identified nations in Levels 1 and 2 as presenting lower and moderate risk, respectively. Level 4, previously regarded as the highest risk category, remains but is reserved for exceptional circumstances. These may include high numbers of virus cases, a new variant emerging from a particular place, or the collapse of a region’s healthcare infrastructure.

Level 4 countries are considered a “Do not travel” zone by the CDC. No countries are currently categorized as Level 4, but if there were, it would mean the CDC advises against visiting there.

The CDC claims vaccinations reduce the risk of getting the virus, though some research suggests “natural immunity has long been found to be superior to the protection from COVID-19 vaccines.”

The CDC designated almost 65 other destinations as being of unknown risk of infection due to a lack of essential data concerning the distribution of the virus. These destinations include Dominica, Ethiopia, French Polynesia, Hungary, Macau, and the Maldives. The CDC advised travelers to avoid these places because of the unknown risk.

For months, the CDC listed most European countries in the Level 3 category even as the summer travel season commenced. As of July 25, many popular European destinations remained at Level 3. These countries included France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

The CDC also labeled numerous other countries Level 3, including Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Malaysia, Mexico, South Korea, Thailand, and Turkey.

Five countries were also added to the Level 2 risk travel category, identifying them as regions with a moderate risk for travel. The newly added countries to the list include Equatorial Guinea, India, Moldova, Philippines, and Togo. These countries were previously in Level 1 but moved up when cases surged.

The CDC additionally added two other countries, Angola and Comoros, to the Level 1 category. Level 1 comprises just over 30 countries, with a few popular destinations such as Tanzania and Indonesia on the list.

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