CDC adds new country to its ‘high’ risk category for travel, but Morocco leaves

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(CNN) — The CDC on Monday added a new destination to its “high” risk list for Covid-19.

Azerbaijan, which borders the Caspian Sea between Iran and Russia, has moved to level 3, or “high” risk.

Locations at level 3 now represent more than 125 of the approximately 235 locations monitored by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – more than half of all lists.

The designation applies to places that have had more than 100 cases per 100,000 population in the past 28 days. Levels 2 and 1 are considered “moderate” and “low” risk respectively.

To recap, only one destination was added to Tier 3 on August 29:

• Azerbaijan

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 infrastructure. health. The CDC advises against travel to these destinations. Under the new system, no destinations have been placed at Tier 4 so far.

The Caribbean island of Saba was moved to Tier 2 on Monday.

¡zenzen!/Adobe Stock

Level 2

Destinations with the designation “Level 2: Moderate Covid-19” have reported 50 to 100 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 population in the past 28 days.

The CDC has designated two new level 2 places on Monday:

• Morocco
• Saba

Morocco, a North African country, was previously ranked at Tier 3. The Caribbean island of Saba was previously at Tier 1.

There are 20 locations listed at Level 2 this week. Some of the most visited places in this category are India, Kenya, and South Africa.

Level 1

To be listed as “Tier 1: Covid-19 Low”, a destination must have recorded 49 or fewer new cases per 100,000 population in the past 28 days.

No new locations were added to the category on August 29.

About 20 places were in the “low” risk category this week. Some of the most popular places with world travelers in the “low” risk category this week include Tanzania and Egypt.

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.

No new destinations have been added this week

The CDC advises against travel to these places precisely because the risks are unknown. Other destinations in this category that generally attract more attention from tourists include Hungary and Vietnam.

Nearly 70 locations listed as “unknown” this week.

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 you get there,” she said.

“Do you plan 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, Wen said.

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

While travelers to the United States no longer have to present a negative Covid-19 test to return home from international destinations, the CDC still advises getting tested before boarding flights back to the States. States and not to travel if you are sick.
“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.
If you are concerned about a travel-specific health situation not related to Covid-19, check here.

Top image: Baku, Azerbaijan (Boris Stroujko/Adobe Stock)

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