CDC puts Sweden, 2 more European countries in the highest travel risk category

(CNN) – The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday added three European destinations – from the frigid northern climates to the sun-soaked south – to the category of highest risk for travel.

In its weekly update on its Covid-19 travel advice, the CDC advises against travel to the following countries and classifies them as “Level 4: Covid-19 Very High”:

• Malta
• Moldova
• Sweden

CDC places the destination at Level 4 when there are more than 500 cases per 100,000 residents registered in the last 28 days.

The island nation of Malta, a favorite in the Mediterranean, was also at 3 last week.

Out of sight for most tourists, the Eastern European country of Moldova was formerly in the “Unknown” category. CDC puts destinations in that category when CDC doesn’t have enough reliable data to make an assessment.

Europe’s Continuity of Disasters

In another worrisome sign for Europe’s Covid-19 situation, the CDC has moved no destinations on that continent to a lower level in the past week.

Other big travel names still at CDC Level 4 include:

• France
• Germany
• Greek
• Italy
• Portugal
• Spain
• UK

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

However, Europe is not the only continent with popular tourist attractions above Level 4. Among others also considered to be at “very high” risk to tourism are:

• Belize
• Jordan
• Singapore
• South Africa
• Turkey

In total, nearly 90 destinations are rated Level 4 as of December 28. You can see the CDC’s risk profile for global destinations on travel recommendation page.

Additional level 3

An overview of the Obelisco de Buenos Aires in Argentina's largest city.

An overview of the Obelisco de Buenos Aires in Argentina’s largest city.

Image of Ricardo Ceppi / Getty

Category Level 3 – which applies to destinations with between 100 and 500 cases per 100,000 residents in the last 28 days – had two additions on Tuesday:

• Argentina
• Brunei

Argentina, a South American travel-loving company that has taken a very cautious approach to allowing foreign visitors during most of the pandemic, was previously Level 2.

The move is good news for the tiny caliphate of Brunei, which is already Level 4.

Level 2, Level 1 and the Unknowns

Destinations carrying the “Level 2: Moderate Covid-19” designation have seen 50 to 99 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days. That level saw three additions on Tuesday:

• Cuba
• Gabon
• Guatemala

Cuba, the largest island in the Caribbean, used to be Level 3. Gabon, on Africa’s Atlantic Coast along the equator, and Guatemala, in Central America. was also at Level 3,

In the “Level 1: Low-19” category of destinations, less than 50 new cases per 100,000 residents have been recorded in the past 28 days. It sees only one addition – the island nation of Sao Tome and Principe off the coast of Gabon.

Finally, there are destinations, as cited above, for which the CDC is at risk of “unknown” because of lack of information. Usually, these are small, secluded places. On Tuesday, CDC added three locations to this category:

• French Polynesia
• New Caledonia
• Suriname

The CDC even warns fully vaccinated travelers about venturing to destinations that don’t have reliable statistics on the current situation of Covid-19.

In it wider travel guide, CDC has recommended avoiding all international travel until you are fully immunized.

“Completely vaccinated travelers are less likely to contract and spread Covid-19,” the agency said. However, international travel carries additional risks and even travelers who have been vaccinated Adequate precautions may also increase the risk of contracting and possibly spreading some variants of Covid-19.”

Another tumultuous week

All of these CDC level changes are happening against a pandemic news stream affecting travel around the world:

• Cruises: At least four cruise lines were recently denied ports of call or banned from disembarking passengers in the Americas this week because of Covid-19 vessel cases on board. Learn more here.
• Air travel: Thousands of flights were canceled over the Christmas holiday weekend in part because workers complained about the Covid-19 case. Learn more here.
• Eve: Large objects are being cut or trimmed around the world. New York is hosting a large gathering in Times Square, but London has canceled its big party altogether. Learn more here.
• The travel ban will be lifted: President Joe Biden issued a presidential statement on Tuesday, December 28, rescinding a statement from last month that enacted travel restrictions on eight South African countries, including South Africa, as the turn of the tide. Omicron bodies begin to spread. Announced lifting the ban as of 12:01 a.m. ET on December 31. Learn more here.


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