By Forrest Brown and Marnie Hunter, CNN
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday added three destinations to its “high” travel risk category, including an Eastern European country known for its mountains, thick forests and folk culture .
Romania is the most notable travel destination to receive a Tier 3, “Covid-19 High” designation in a week that saw little overall change in risk rating.
The other two were Romania’s smaller wine neighbor, Moldova, and Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon, a French archipelago off Newfoundland, Canada.
There were nearly 125 Tier 3 destinations on August 1. Tier 3 locations represent more than half of the approximately 235 locations monitored by the CDC.
Level 3 became the first rung in terms of risk level in April after the CDC revamped its grading system to assess the Covid-19 risk for travellers.
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, these three destinations received the “high” risk designation on Monday:
• Saint Pierre and Miquelon
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 infrastructures. health. Under the new system, no destinations have been placed at Tier 4 so far.
Learn more about level 3
Much of Europe has been stubbornly lodged in Level 3 for months, with the summer travel season entering a traditionally busy August. The following popular European destinations were among those remaining at Tier 3 as of August 1:
• The Netherlands
These aren’t the only high-profile locations that fall into Level 3. Many other destinations around the world fall into the “high” risk category, including:
• South Korea
The CDC advises that you get up to date with your Covid-19 vaccines before traveling to a Tier 3 destination. “up to date” means that you have received not only the initial full vaccinations, but also all the boosters for which you are eligible.
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 designated only two new Tier 2 seats on Monday:
The move was a step in the wrong direction for the two Asian nations, which were in Tier 1. There are less than 20 places in the “moderate” risk category this week.
You can view the CDC’s risk levels for any global destination on the agency’s website. travel recommendations page.
In his wider travel advicethe CDC recommends being up to date on your vaccines before traveling abroad.
To be listed as “Tier 1: Covid-19 Low”, a destination must have recorded 49 or fewer new cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 28 days. No new locations were added to the category on August 1.
There are almost 30 places in the “low” risk category this week. Among the most popular places in the “low” risk category this week are Egypt and Tanzania.
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.
Southeast Asia Tourism Favorite Vietnam was the only destination added this week. He was previously at level 3.
The CDC advises against travel to these places precisely because the risks are unknown. Other destinations in this category that usually attract more attention from tourists are the Azores, Hungary and the Maldives.
There are nearly 65 locations listed as “unknown” this week, representing more than a quarter of all locations monitored.
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.
“Are you planning 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. It’s very different. They’re very different levels of risk.
Vaccination is the most important safety factor for travel, as unvaccinated travelers are more likely to get sick and transmit Covid-19 to others, 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 testing to return home from international destinations, the CDC always advises testing before boarding return flights to the United States and not traveling if you are ill.
“Of course, if people have symptoms or are exposed while traveling, they should get tested, and if they are positive, follow up. CDC Isolation Guidelines“, Wen told CNN Travel recently.
If you are concerned about a travel-specific health situation unrelated to Covid-19, Check here.
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Top image: The historic city center of Oradea in Transylvania, Romania. (Alexander Spatari/Moment RF/Getty Images)