CDC: Avoid the “very high” risky island of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean


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(CNN) – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added only one new destination to Monday’s highest-risk travel category – and it’s again an island nation in the Indian Ocean.

Moved to level 4 is Madagascar. Off the southeast coast of Africa, it is known for its unique wilderness, including lemurs, and for being the fourth largest island in the world.

The CDC places the destination at “level 4: Covid-19 very high”, with more than 500 cases per 100,000 population registered in the last 28 days.

Madagascar was exposed to “Level 3: Covid-19 High” risk last week.

Currently, there are approximately 120 destinations at level 4. While the number of places in the “very high” risk category is falling from a maximum of around 140 in February, there are still more places in the level 4 category than in all other categories combined.

To sum it up, just a new addition to level 4 on March 21:

• Madagascar

CDC: Avoid level 4 destinations

The El Prado Museum is a huge attraction in Madrid, Spain. However, the country remains at level 4 of the CDC warning.

Carlos Alvarez / Getty Images Europe / Getty Images

The CDC recommends avoiding travel to Level 4 countries. The CDC’s limits for travel health warnings are based primarily on the number of Covid-19 cases in the destination.

The CDC does not include the United States in its list of recommendations, but was color-coded at level 4 on 21 March travel risk level map.

Level 4 tourist attractions include Aruba, Brazil, Canada, Egypt, France, Greece, Peru and Spain. The United Kingdom has been there since July 2021.

In his broader travel adviceThe CDC has recommended that all international travel be avoided until you are fully vaccinated.

Level 3 changes

The “high” level 3 risk category – which covers destinations that had 100 to 500 cases per 100 000 inhabitants in the last 28 days – saw five new additions on Monday. – from places scattered around the world. They were:

• Albania
• Bolivia
• Botswana
• Colombia
• Guyana

The move to level 3 was good news for the quintet, which was at level 4 last week. Colombia in particular has become a popular travel destination in recent years, including its cosmopolitan capital, Bogota.

Levels 2, 1 and unknown

Hassan II Mosque is located in the Moroccan city of Casablanca.

Hassan II Mosque is located in the Moroccan city of Casablanca.


“Level 2: Moderate Covid-19” destinations have recorded 50 to 99 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 population in the last 28 days. The four new items to Level 2 on March 21 are:

• Guinea
• Guinea-Bissau
• Morocco
• Nepal

All four were at level 3, including Morocco’s big tourist favorite.

To reach level 1: COVID-19 Low, the destination must have less than 50 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 28 days. Six seats moved to level 1 on Monday:

• Cameroon
• Cape Verde
• Gabon
• The Gambia
• Mozambique
• Democratic Republic of Congo

The Democratic Republic of the Congo fell the most, from level 4. Cape Verde was at level 3. And the rest was at “moderate” level 2.

Africa remains a highlight on the current Covid map, as all six are located there.

There are now a total of 30 Level 1 destinations and all but three (China, Saba and Taiwan) are in Africa. This includes Kenya, a favorite among safari visitors.

Finally, there are destinations for which the CDC has an “unknown” risk due to a lack of information. These are usually, but not always, small, remote places or places with ongoing wars or riots. The CDC has done nothing new additions to the category on Monday.

Cambodia, the Canary Islands, Macao and Tanzania are among the most visited sites currently listed in an unknown category. The CDC does not recommend traveling to these places precisely because the risks are unknown.

The medical expert considers the levels of risk

According to CNN medical analyst Dr. Leany Wen is a “one-stop shop” for passenger personal risk calculations.

“We are entering a pandemic phase where people have to make their own decisions based on their health circumstances as well as their risk tolerance for the Covid-19 infection,” Wen said in mid-February.

“Level 4 should be interpreted as saying that this is a place with a lot of Covid-19 community broadcasts. So if you go, there’s a better chance you could get a coronavirus infection, “said Wen, an emergency physician and professor of health policy and management at the Milken Institute at George Washington University.

Some people decide that the risk is too high for them, Wen said. “Other people will say: Because I am vaccinated and strengthened, I am willing to take this risk.

“So this really has to be a personal decision that people will consider when they understand that right now the CDC classifies different levels based on the transfer rate in the community and basically just that,” Wen said. “They don’t take individual circumstances into account.”

More thoughts on travel

According to Wen, in addition to transmission speeds, other factors need to be considered.

“Baud rates are one point of reference,” Wen said. “The next is what precautions are required and followed where you go, and the third is what you plan to do when you’re there.

“Do you plan to visit a lot of attractions and go to indoor bars? It’s very different from going somewhere where you plan to lie on the beach all day and not interact with anyone else. It’s very different. These are very different levels of risk.”

Vaccination is the most important safety factor when traveling, because unvaccinated passengers are more likely to get sick and transfer Covid-19 to others, Wen said.

“People who are not vaccinated continue to be at high risk and really should not travel at this point,” she said.

People should wear a high-quality mask – N95, KN95 or KF94 – whenever they are in a crowded indoor environment with people with unknown vaccinations, she said.

And it’s also important to consider what you would do if you ended up with a positive test away from home. Where will you stay and how easy will it be to get a homecoming test?

Top image: Colorful pies line the beach in Morondava, Madagascar. (Reto Ammann / Adobe Stock)

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