CDC reduces Covid-19 travel risk for 2 European countries

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(CNN) — The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its travel advisory page for Covid-19 on Tuesday. Only two new locations, both in Africa, joined the crowded high-risk category.

But perhaps more notable this week is the news that two destinations in stubbornly high Europe have been downgraded to “moderate” risk.

The Scandinavian cultural powerhouse of Sweden and the heavily forested and historic Romania in Eastern Europe offer two bright spots on a continent that has been mired in the “high” risk category.

The Level 3 “high” risk category is now the top tier in terms of risk level. Level 2 is considered a “moderate” risk. Level 1 corresponds to a “low” risk.

Level 4, previously the highest risk category, is now reserved only for special circumstances, such as an extremely high number of cases, the emergence of a new variant of concern or the collapse of healthcare infrastructures. health. Under the new system, no destinations have been placed at Tier 4 so far.

A herd of elephants is spotted in eastern Botswana. The South African nation is now at Tier 3.

Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

The category “Level 3: High Covid-19” now applies to places that have recorded more than 100 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 28 days. The two destinations joining Tier 3 this week are:

• Botswana
• Green cap

Botswana, a favorite of landlocked safaris, moved from Tier 1 while Cape Verde, off the west coast of Africa in the North Atlantic, moved from Tier 2.

There were over 110 Tier 3 destinations on June 21. Level 3 locations make up nearly half of the approximately 235 locations monitored by the CDC.

Learn more about level 3

The Eiffel Tower bathes in a romantic Parisian twilight.  France is still at level 3 of the CDC.

The Eiffel Tower bathes in a romantic Parisian twilight. France is still at level 3 of the CDC.

Martin Bureau/AFP via Getty Images

Despite the good news out of Sweden and Romania, much of Europe has stubbornly lodged there for months with the start of the summer travel season. As of June 21, the following popular European destinations were among those remaining at Tier 3:

• France
• Germany
• Greece
• Ireland
• Italy
• The Netherlands
• Norway
• Spain
• UK

But it’s not just European favorites that end up in Tier 3. Many notable travel destinations around the world fall into the “high” risk category, including the following:

• Brazil
• Canada
•Costa Rica
• Malaysia
• Mexico
• South Korea
• Thailand

The CDC advises that you get up to date with your Covid-19 vaccines before traveling to a Tier 3 destination. are eligible.

Level 2

Biertan is one of the most important Saxon villages with fortified churches in Transylvania, Romania.  The Eastern European nation is now at Tier 2.

Biertan is one of the most important Saxon villages with fortified churches in Transylvania, Romania. The Eastern European nation is now at Tier 2.

Andrea Ricordi/Moment RF/Getty Images

Destinations with the designation “Tier 2: Moderate Covid-19” have reported 50 to 100 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 population in the past 28 days. A total of six places were moved to this level on Tuesday:

• Bolivia
• Ethiopia
• Morocco
• Romania
• Sweden

Unlike the two European nations, the move to Tier 2 was actually not good news for Bolivia, Kenya and Morocco, which were in Tier 1. (Ethiopia did not appear in the roundup of last week).

In its broader travel advice, the CDC recommended avoiding all international travel until you are fully immunized.

Level 1

To be at “Level 1: Covid-19 low”, a destination must have registered 49 new cases or less per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 28 days. Six destinations scattered around the world were added to the category on June 21:

• El Salvador
• Fiji
• Guinea
• Moldova
• Saint Eustache
• Tanzania

This decision was particularly good for the small Dutch Caribbean island of Saint-Eustache, which was in level 3.

Last week, El Salvador, Fiji and Moldova were in Tier 2 while Africa’s Guinea and Tanzania were “unknown”.


Finally, there are the destinations the CDC has deemed “unknown” risk due to a lack of information. Usually, but not always, these are small, remote places or places where war or unrest is going on. This week, four places have been added to this category:

• Bhutan
• Comoros
• Democratic Republic of Congo
• Ghana

The CDC advises against travel to these places precisely because the risks are unknown. Other destinations in this category include Cambodia, the Canary Islands and Macao.

Medical expert weighs in on risk levels

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

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

There are other factors to weigh in addition to transmission rates, according to Wen.

“Another is what precautions are needed and followed where you are going, and then the third is what you plan to do once there,” she said.

“Are you planning on visiting a lot of attractions and going to indoor bars? It’s very different from going somewhere where you plan to lay on the beach all day and not interact with anyone outside. “other. It’s very different. It’s very different levels of risk.”

Vaccination is the most important safety factor for travel, as unvaccinated travelers are more likely to get sick and transmit Covid-19 to others, Wen said.

And it’s also important to think about what you would do if you became positive outside of your home.

“Of course, if people have symptoms or are exposed while traveling, they should get tested and, if positive, follow CDC’s isolation guidelines,” Wen told CNN Travel recently.
If you are concerned about a travel-specific health situation not related to Covid-19, check here.

Top image: Dusk over Riddarholmen Church in Stockholm, Sweden. (K’Nub/Moment RF/Getty Images)

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