US COVID-19 travel advisory: CDC added 8 places to its highest-risk category

Published on : Tuesday, December 21, 2021

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added eight destinations to its highest-risk category for travel on Monday, including the world’s No. 2 most-visited nation before the pandemic started.

In its weekly update of COVID-19 travel advisories, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised against travel to tourist favourite Spain at this time. In 2019, Spain received more international visitors than nearly every other nation in the world, except France, according to figures from the UN’s World Tourism Organisation.

The CDC places a destination at Level 4 when more than 500 cases per 100,000 residents are registered in the past 28 days.

Three tiny destinations in Europe — Gibraltar, Monaco and San Marino — provide a cautionary example about travelling to places without reliable statistics. They all shot up to Level 4 on Monday from the CDC’s “unknown” risk category. Destinations are put there when there is a lack of reliable information coming from them to the CDC.

Spain, Finland and Lebanon all moved up from Level 3, which is considered “high risk.” Spain’s designation comes even as it boasts impressive vaccination stats. As of December 17, more than 80% of the population had been fully vaccinated.

The landlocked northern African nation of Chad had previously been at Level 1, the “low risk” category.

Travel to and across Europe is becoming increasingly hard for tourists, particularly those from the United Kingdom, where cases have skyrocketed. France has placed a ban on all nonessential visitors to and from the UK. There are several countries in Europe have introduced new restrictions over the past few days as the Covid-19 surge there continues.

The Netherlands entered a strict lockdown on Sunday, with nonessential shops, hospitality venues and cultural institutions closing.

Some Christmas markets in Europe are still planning to operate, but others, including the Munich market, have been cancelled.

Cruise line Royal Caribbean says at least 48 people on board Symphony of the Seas, the world’s biggest cruise ship, have tested positive for coronavirus.

Meanwhile, the entire world continues to monitor Omicron.

First announced by South African health authorities in late November, the variant has prompted various travel bans on nations in southern Africa. The CDC moved seven southern African nations to Level 4 on November 27 specifically because of Omicron (an eighth nation, Botswana, was already at Level 4). All of those nations remained at Level 4 on Monday.

And the United States implemented tighter travel rules on December 6 because of concern about the variant.

  1. France
  2. Germany
  3. Greece
  4. Italy
  5. United Kingdom
  6. Belize
  7. Jordan
  8. Singapore
  9. South Africa
  10. Turkey

In all, almost 90 countries were rated Level 4 as of December 20.

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