CDC moves Caribbean island from low to high travel risk for Covid-19

By Forrest Brown and Marnie Hunter, CNN

After lowering the level of risk in many of the world’s major destinations last week in conjunction with an overhaul of travel assessments, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added just one site to the “high” risk category on Monday.

small caribbean island saba – A Dutch municipality famous for its rugged hiking terrain and the world’s shortest commercial runway – Moved to level 3.

The “High” level 3 risk category is now the first in terms of the level of risk. Level 2 is considered “moderate” risk, and level 1 is considered “low” risk. Saba was at level 1.

Level 4 is now reserved only for special circumstances. Under the new system, no destination has been placed at level 4 yet.

The sweeping reform comes against the background of US government agencies and the public continuing to respond and adapt to an ever-changing pandemic — sometimes in sharp disagreement.

Last week, a federal judge rescinded the federal mask’s authorization for transportation. This led to a rapid chain reaction, and the CDC asked the Department of Justice to appeal. Meanwhile, masks are largely optional at the moment on planes, trains and public transportation. (Some airports and transportation systems have their own concealment rules.)

3 . level

In the new CDC system, the “high” level 3 risk category applies to destinations with more than 100 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days.

However, Saba is not alone at this level. Much of Europe still resides there with the summer travel season not too far away. On April 25, those popular states included:

• France
• Germany
• Greece
• Ireland
• Italia
• Portugal
• Spain
• United kingdom

It’s not just European favorites that find themselves at level 3. Other popular travel spots around the world that are at high risk include:

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

There are approximately 120 Tier 3 destinations this week, a slight decrease from the previous week and just over half of the total of the nearly 235 places the CDC monitors.

The CDC advises that you be up to date on your Covid-19 vaccinations before traveling to a Tier 3 destination. The term “updated” includes not only full initial vaccinations, but also any boosters for which you are eligible.

The CDC does not include the United States on its guidance list, but on its color-coded map of the world, the CDC was at level 3 on Monday.

Level 2

Destinations rated “Level 2: Moderate Covid-19” have reported 50 to 100 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days. Four destinations were moved to that tier on Monday. They are:

• El Salvador
• Indonesia
• Sultanate of Oman
• The United Arab Emirates

All four of these places were at level 3 last week. The CDC had only 13 destinations worldwide on its moderate risk level on Monday.

You can view the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) risk levels for any global destination on their travel recommendations page.

In its broader travel advisory, the CDC has recommended that you avoid international travel until you’ve been fully vaccinated.

If you are concerned about a health condition not related to Covid-19, check here.

Level 1

To be at ‘Level 1: Covid-19 Low’, a destination must have 49 or fewer new cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days. Three destinations added on April 25:

• Armenia
• Azerbaijan
• Libya

The drop was even more impressive for Libya, which was in the third high-risk category. Armenia and Azerbaijan, both in the mountainous Caucasus region where Asia and Europe meet, were at level 2.

This level is dominated by destinations in Africa, including Kenya, Rwanda and Senegal. Level 1 contained a total of 55 entries this week.

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Finally, there are destinations where the CDC faces “unknown” risks due to a lack of information. Usually, but not always, these are small, remote places or places with constant war or unrest.

There was one new entry for this category on Monday: Gambiaa small nation in West Africa.

Their fair share of visitors in this category have attracted the Azores, Cambodia and Nicaragua. The CDC advises against travel to these places specifically because the risks are unknown.

Medical expert weighs in risk levels

Commuting rates are “one benchmark” for travelers’ personal risk calculations, according to CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen.

We have moved to “a stage in the pandemic where people need to make their own decisions based on their medical conditions as well as their own risk tolerance when it comes to contracting Covid-19,” said Wayne, an emergency physician and university professor. Health Policy and Management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.

Wen said there are other factors that should be weighed in addition to transmission rates.

“Another is what precautions are required and which are followed where you are going, and the third is what you plan to do once you get there.

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

Wen said vaccination is the most important safety factor for travel because unvaccinated travelers are more likely to get sick and pass Covid-19 to others.

It’s also important to think about what you’ll do if you end up testing positive away from home. Where would you stay and how easy would it be to take a test back home?

CNN Wire
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Top image: Windwardside, Saba, Dutch West Indies. (¡zenzen! / Adobe Stock)