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CDC Adds A New High Risk Country For Travel, But Morocco Leaves It

As per a recent report, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC adds a new high risk country for category travel, but Morocco has not been included. Recent events have prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to revise its recommendations regarding the use of masks, testing, isolation, and, of course, travel bans.

The Report

Recently, the CDC added one new destination to its "high" risk list for Covid-19. Azerbaijan, which shares the Caspian Sea with Iran and Russia, has been upgraded to Level 3, or "high" risk.

Level 3 locations now account for more than 125 of the approximately 235 places monitored by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, accounting for more than half of all listings. After the CDC overhauled its ratings system for assessing Covid-19 risk for travelers in April, Level 3 became the top rung in terms of risk level. The designation is given to areas with more than 100 cases per 100,000 residents in the previous 28 days.

Levels 2 and 1 are classified as "moderate" and "low" risk, respectively. To review, there was only one location that was added to Level 3 on the 29th of August:

Azerbaijan

Before traveling internationally, the CDC recommends that you get your Covid-19 vaccines up to date. Being "up to date" means that you have received all of your initial vaccinations as well as any boosters for which you are eligible.

Level 4, previously the highest risk category, is now reserved only for extreme cases, the emergence of a new variant of concern, or the collapse of health care infrastructure. The CDC advises against visiting these locations. So far, no destinations have been assigned to Level 4 under the new system.

Level 2 Destinations with the designation "Level 2: Covid-19 Moderate" reported 50 to 100 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 residents in the previous 28 days. On Monday, the CDC designated two new Level 2 locations:

  • Saba
  • Morocco

Morocco, a North African country, was previously listed at Level 3. Saba, a Caribbean island, was previously at Level 1. This week, there are 20 available positions at Level 2. India, Kenya, and South Africa are among the most popular destinations in this category.

The CDC's risk levels for any global destination are available on the agency's travel recommendations page.

Level 1

A destination must have 49 or fewer new cases per 100,000 residents in the previous 28 days to be listed as "Level 1: Covid-19 Low." On August 29, no new locations were added to the category.

This week, approximately 20 locations were classified as "low" risk. Tanzania and Egypt were two of the more popular "low" risk destinations with world travelers this week.

Unknown

Finally, the CDC has designated certain destinations as "unknown" risk due to a lack of information. These are usually, but not always, small, remote areas or areas where there is ongoing warfare or unrest.

This week, no new destinations were added. The CDC advises against visiting these locations because the risks are unknown. Other destinations in this category that typically draw more tourist attention include Hungary and Vietnam.

This week, nearly 70 locations were listed as "unknown." A medical professional weighs in on risk levels. According to CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen, transmission rates are only "one guidepost" for travelers' personal risk calculations.

We’ve moved into “a phase in the pandemic where people need to make their own decisions based on their medical circumstances. Also we need to consider their risk tolerance when it comes to contracting Covid-19,” said Wen. Wen is an emergency physician and professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.

According to Wen, there are other factors to consider in addition to transmission rates. "Another is what precautions are required and followed in the location that you're going to, and the third is what you intend to do once you're there," she explained.

"Are you planning on going to a lot of attractions and indoor bars?" That is not the same as going somewhere where you intend to lie on the beach all day and not interact with anyone else. That's quite different. Those are two very different levels of danger."

Vaccination is the most important travel safety factor, according to Wen. And it’s also important to consider what you would do if you end up testing positive away from home.

While US-bound travelers no longer have to present a negative Covid-19 test to get home from international destinations, the CDC still advises testing before boarding flights back to the States and not traveling if you are sick.

Conclusion

Of course, if people have symptoms or exposure while traveling, they need to get tested, and if they test positive, to follow CDC’s isolation guidelines, Wen told CNN Travel.

About The Authors

Velma Battle

Velma Battle - Travelling Expert

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