The CDC is revising the list of travel warnings; much of Europe is now at “high” risk

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(CNN) – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention unveiled their new travel risk assessment system on Monday.

Many European nations are currently considered “high” at risk of COVID-19, along with other branded destinations around the world.

The new system classifies destinations into the following categories:

• Level 3: High risk for Covid-19
• Level 2: Moderate risk for COVID-19
• Level 1: Low risk for Covid-19
• Unknown: Lack of data for risk assessment

The big change comes at level 4, which has been regularly used in places considered to be a “very high” risk for passengers. Level 4 will no longer be routinely used for this purpose.

Instead, a level 4 alert in the new system is reserved for special circumstances only.

These circumstances include “an extremely high number of cases, the emergence of a new variant of concern or the collapse of the medical infrastructure,” told the CDC. “Other factors that may be considered include information such as vaccinations and hospitalization rates.”

Levels 3, 2 and 1 will still be primarily determined by the previous 28-day occurrence pattern or number of cases.

The overhaul comes against US government agencies and the public, who continue to respond and adapt to an ever-changing pandemic – and sometimes sharply disagree.

On Monday, a federal judge in Florida revoked the Biden administration’s mandate for a mask for airplanes and other modes of public transportation, and a Biden administration official said the order was no longer valid until the decision was reviewed.

CDC level 3

Traditional colorful Asian fishing boats can be seen on Langkawi Island in Malaysia, currently at level 3.

vasilygureev / Adobe Stock

In the new system, the “high” level 3 risk category applies to destinations that have had more than 100 cases per 100 000 inhabitants in the last 28 days.

But other highlights of the European travel scene also fall into the “high” risk category. On April 18, they included:

• Germany
• Greece
• Ireland
• Italy
• Portugal
• Spain
• United Kingdom

It is not just European favorites who are on this rebooted list. Other popular places to travel around the world at level 3 include:

• Brazil
• Canada
• Egypt
• Malaysia
• Mexico
• South Korea
• Thailand

In total, there were just over 120 destinations at level 3 on late afternoon. The CDC lists a total of about 235 sites.

The CDC recommends that you find out about your Covid-19 vaccines before traveling to a Level 3 destination. “Up to date” includes not only the full initial vaccination but also all revaccinations to which you are entitled.

The CDC does not include the United States in its list of recommendations.

Level 2

Mi Teleferico is a cable car in La Paz, Bolivia.  This South American country is at level 2.

Mi Teleferico is a cable car in La Paz, Bolivia. This South American country is at level 2.

saiko3p / Adobe Stock

Destinations labeled “Level 2: Moderate Covid-19” report 50 to 100 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 population in the last 28 days.

It had only 11 records scattered around the world on Monday. The most famous names were:

• Bolivia
• Peru
• South Africa
• Sri Lanka
• Turks and Caicos Islands

In his broader travel adviceThe CDC has recommended that all international travel be avoided until you are fully vaccinated.
If you are concerned about a non-Covid-19 medical condition, check here.

Level 1

Are you looking for a nation that is currently at level 1?  Consider Kenya.  Here, elephants roam in front of Mount Kilimanjaro in Amboseli National Park.

Are you looking for a nation that is currently at level 1? Consider Kenya. Here, elephants roam in front of Mount Kilimanjaro in Amboseli National Park.

Dan / Adobe Stock

At this level, destinations in Africa dominate and in the first week it had almost 55 entries in the new system.

To reach Level 1: COVID-19 Low, the destination must have 49 or fewer new cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 28 days.

Some of the notable places include:

• Colombia
• Dominican Republic
• India
• Jamaica
• Kenya
• Philippines
• Senegal

Unknown

Finally, there are destinations for which the CDC has an “unknown” risk due to a lack of information. Usually, but not always, these are small, remote places or places with ongoing wars or riots.

The Azores, Cambodia and Nicaragua are among the sites currently listed in the 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. Leana Wen’s “one point of reference” for passenger personal risk calculations.

We have entered a “pandemic phase where people have to make their own decisions based on their medical circumstances as well as their risk tolerance for Covid-19,” said Wen, an emergency physician and professor. Health Policy and Management at the Milken Institute of George Washington University.

Some people decide that the risk is too high for them in the higher categories, 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 consider when they understand that right now the CDC classifies different levels based on the transmission 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.

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?

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