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CDC moves 3 more European destinations to its most risky travel category

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(CNN) – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added three destinations in Europe on Tuesday, from its cold northern to sunny sunny climates to its highest-risk travel category.

In its weekly update of Covid-19 travel alerts, the CDC recommended not traveling to the following countries and placed them in the “Level 4: Covid-19 Very High” category:

• Malta
• Moldova
• Sweden

The CDC places a destination at level 4 when more than 500 cases per 100,000 residents have been reported in the last 28 days.

Malta’s favorite island nation in the Mediterranean was also at level 3 last week.

Away from the radar of most tourists, the Eastern European nation of Moldova had previously been in the “Unknown” category. The CDC places destinations in this category when it does not have enough reliable data to make an assessment.

Europe’s continuing problems

In another worrying sign of the Covid-19 situation in Europe, the CDC did not move any destinations from that continent to a lower level last week.

Other big travel names staying at CDC Level 4 include:

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

In fact, the UK has been at level 4 since July 19th.

However, Europe is not the only continent with popular tourist destinations at level 4. Other places also considered “very high” for travel include:

• Belize
• Jordan
• Singapore
• South Africa
• Turkey

In all, almost 90 destinations had a Level 4 rating as of December 28th. You can see the CDC’s risk levels for global destinations in yours travel recommendations page.

Level 3 additions

Overview of the Obelisk of Buenos Aires in the largest city in Argentina.

Overview of the Obelisk of Buenos Aires in the largest city in Argentina.

Ricardo Ceppi / Getty Images

The Level 3 category, which applies to destinations that have had between 100 and 500 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days, saw two additions on Tuesday:

• Argentina
• Brunei

Argentina, a favorite of South American travelers who took a very cautious approach to the entry of foreign visitors during most of the pandemic, had previously been at level 2.

The move was good news for the small Islamic sultanate of Brunei, which had been at level 4.

Level 2, Level 1 and unknowns

Destinations bearing the designation “Level 2: Moderate Covid-19” have recorded between 50 and 99 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 residents in the last 28 days. This level saw three additions on Tuesday:

• Cuba
• Gabon
• Guatemala

Cuba, the largest island in the Caribbean, had been at level 3. Gabon, on the Atlantic coast of Africa along the equator, and Guatemala, in Central America. had also been at level 3,

In the destination category “Level 1: Covid-19 Low”, less than 50 new cases per 100,000 residents have been registered in the last 28 days. He saw only one addition: the island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe off the coast of Gabon.

Finally, there are destinations, as mentioned above, for which CDC has an “unknown” risk due to lack of information. These are usually small, remote places. On Tuesday, the CDC added three places to this category:

• French Polynesia
• New Caledonia
• Suriname

The CDC warns even fully vaccinated travelers who venture to destinations without reliable statistics on the current situation of the Covid-19.

On his broader travel orientation, the CDC has recommended avoiding all international travel until it is fully vaccinated.

“Fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to contract and spread Covid-19. However, international travel poses additional risks, and even fully vaccinated travelers may be at greater risk of getting and possibly spreading some variants of Covid-19. Covid-19, “the agency said.

Another turbulent week

All of these CDC level changes are taking place against a whirlwind of pandemic news affecting travel around the world:

• Cruises: At least four ocean-going cruise ships were recently disembarked from ports of call or were banned from landing in the Americas this week due to Covid-19 cases aboard. More information here.
• Air travel: Thousands of flights were canceled over the Christmas holiday weekend, in part because workers were calling sick with cases of Covid-19. More information here.
• New Year’s Eve: Big shindigs are being canceled or cut all over the world. New York is holding a small meeting in Times Square, but London has canceled its big party altogether. More information here.
• The travel ban will be lifted: President Joe Biden issued a presidential proclamation on Tuesday, December 28, revoking a proclamation last month enacting travel restrictions on eight South African nations, including South Africa, as the Omicron variant began to spread. The proclamation repeals the ban from 12:01 am ET on December 31st. More information here.

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