On Tuesday, the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) upgraded several destinations to different risk levels. Anguilla, Jamaica, and Turks and Caicos Islands were all classed as Level 3, or “high” risk in the context of Covid-19, according to the CDC’s April rating system overhaul. Level 3 indicates the highest risk of COVID, followed by Level 2 and Level 1, which are labelled as moderate and low-risk respectively.
The highest risk category is Level 4, which currently does not have any destinations. It is reserved for contingencies such as spread of a new variant, collapse of the health infrastructure of alarming spread of a contagion.
The “Level 3: Covid-19 High” category now applies to nations with more than 100 cases per 100,000 people in the previous 28 days. On May 31, there were about 110 places at Level 3. At present, most Caribbean locations are placed under Level 3, with the exception of Cuba, Dominican Republic, Saint Kitts and Nevis, which come under Level 2.
The European continent has been stubbornly retained as the summer vacation rush begins. As of May 31, the following popular European destinations were still at Level 3 – France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain. The United Kingdom and Ireland are also among those that have remained at Level 3.
Level 3 is not limited to European favorites. The following travel destinations that are in the high-risk category, among others, are Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Malaysia, South Korea and Thailand.
Before traveling to a Level 3 destination, the CDC recommends that you complete your Covid-19 vaccinations. Being “up-to-date” means you’ve had all of your fundamental vaccines as well as any boosters for which you’re qualified.
In the past 28 days, 50 to 100 Covid-19 cases per hundred thousand people have been reported by destinations with the “Level 2: Covid-19 Moderate” designation. On Tuesday, eight locations were upgraded to this level, namely, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Moldova, Poland, Saint Kitts and Tunisia.
The Dominican Republic, Guyana, and Saint Kitts and Nevis all moved up a level in risk. The rest of the countries fell in risk level from Level 3. On May 31, there were approximately 20 destinations listed at Level 2. You can get information on CDC’s risk levels for any worldwide destination by visiting the agency’s travel recommendations site
The CDC has advised against all international travel until you are fully vaccinated in its wider health advice. If you have a medical condition that is not covered by Covid-19, please consult the appropriate authorities.
A destination must have had 49 or fewer new cases per 100,000 residents over the last 28 days to be in “Level 1: Covid-19 Low.” On May 31, two destinations that were added to the category are Kuwait and Mauritania.
Finally, the CDC has designated certain destinations as “unknown” risk owing to a lack of knowledge. These are mostly small, faraway places or countries with ongoing warfare or unrest. There were no new entries in this area on Tuesday. The CDC recommends avoiding these areas – French Polynesia, the Azores, Cambodia and Tanzania – since the dangers are unknown.
A medical expert weighs in on risk levels
According to CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen, “transmission rates are simply one guidepost” for travellers making personal calculations of risk.
“We’re in a phase of the pandemic when individuals must make their own decisions based on their medical circumstances as well as their risk tolerance,” said Wen, who is also an emergency physician and George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health professor. “There are other things to consider beyond transmission rates.”
“There’s the question of what precautions you’ll need to take and how rigorously they’ll be followed in the destination you’re going. Then there’s another one: What are you going to do once you get there? These are three distinct issues,” she said. “Are you planning on visiting a lot of attractions and bars with an interior?”
Because unvaccinated tourists are more likely to become ill and pass Covid-19 to others, vaccination is the most important safety feature of travel, according to Dr. Wen. And while you consider what you’d do if you tested positive outside of your own country, keep in mind that many places will not accept a positive test result for weeks or allow you to travel home.”