US Urges No Travel to 6 New Locations Over ‘Very High COVID-19 Risk’

Lorenz Duchamps
By Lorenz Duchamps
February 15, 2022US News
US Urges No Travel to 6 New Locations Over ‘Very High COVID-19 Risk’
A Mesa Airlines CRJ-900 aircraft takes off from Long Beach International Airport (LGB) as people receive COVID-19 PCR tests at a Long Beach Health Department testing site in the parking lot of a former Boeing aircraft factory in Long Beach, Calif., on Jan. 10, 2022. (Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images)

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday urged Americans not to travel to half a dozen new destinations due to “very high levels” of COVID-19.

The new additions added to the CDC’s “Level 4: Very High” risk category include South Korea, Belarus, Comoros, Azerbaijan, French Polynesia, and Saint Pierre and Miquelon—a French archipelago south of Canada’s Newfoundland.

Last week, all six destinations were listed by the federal health agency in the category: “Level 3: High” risk for the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.

In total, CDC lists about 140 countries and territories at the highest warning level—including all of Europe and almost all of Latin America—due to reported cases from the Omicron variant of the CCP virus still remaining high in many countries, though cases in many places have dropped recently.

A country placed on the CDC’s Level 4 travel health list means that it is reporting more than 500 new CCP virus infections per 28 days per 100,000 people. Those who do travel to countries in the Level 4 category should be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the agency advises.

The CDC lists 50 countries or territories as “Level 3: High,” discouraging non-essential travel by Americans who are not vaccinated. Just 11 destinations—including New Zealand, Pakistan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong—are listed at Level 1: Low or Level 2: Moderate. The health agency lists about another 40 destinations as unknown.

The Level 3 category applies to destinations that have had between 100 and 500 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days, according to the CDC.

The agency lowers the travel risk designation when the case count in a given country falls below a specified threshold and remains at that level for 28 consecutive days, though the CDC notes it may lower the level before that time if vaccination coverage rates and vaccine performance warrant such a move.

Some industry officials have said they believe the CDC travel recommendations are a factor in the depressed international air travel demand. Earlier this month, major airlines, business, and travel groups urged the White House to end COVID-19 pre-departure testing requirements for vaccinated international passengers traveling to the United States.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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