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(CNN) – In its first travel advisory update for 2022, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added just one new destination – a popular winter getaway to the Caribbean – to its highest risk category.

The CDC advises travelers to avoid Aruba, a Dutch island just off the coast of South America, as it now resides at level 4 with a “very high level” of risk for Covid-19.

The CDC places a destination at Level 4 when more than 500 cases per 100,000 population have been recorded in the past 28 days.

This is a slowdown from the pace of additions over the past two weeks. A week ago Sweden and two other European countries were added to level 4. And two weeks ago Spain and seven other destinations in the world were placed at level 4.

Europe’s continuing unrest

The Covid-19 travel situation in Europe has seen only a small improvement this week. The CDC has only moved two destinations on this continent – not heavy goods vehicles – to a lower tier (see tier 3 below).

Some of its biggest travel names remain firmly housed at CDC Level 4 for the time being:

• France
• Germany
• Greece
• Italy
• Netherlands
• Portugal
• Spain
• Switzerland
• UK

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

However, Europe is not the only continent with popular tourist destinations at level 4. Other places also considered to be at ‘very high’ risk for travel include:

• Belize
• Jordan
• Maldives
• South Africa
• Turkey

More than 80 destinations were classified at level 4 on January 4. You can view the CDC’s risk levels for global destinations on its travel recommendations page.


Norwegian Gem, owned by Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, is docked in PortMiami in August 2021.

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Since the announcement, one of the largest cruise ships operating in the Mediterranean has become the last to be affected by a Covid outbreak. MSC Cruises confirmed on Monday that 45 Covid-positive passengers disembarked from its ship MSC Grandiosa in the Italian port of Genoa, less than 1% of the people on board.

Level 3 additions

A view of Peleș Castle in Sinaia, Romania.  This Eastern European country moved to level 3 on Monday.

A view of Peleș Castle in Sinaia, Romania. This Eastern European country moved to level 3 on Monday.

Victor Moussa / Adobe Stock

The level 3 category – which applies to destinations that have recorded between 100 and 500 cases per 100,000 population in the past 28 days – saw eight new additions from various regions on Tuesday:

• Azerbaijan
• The Bahamas
• Kenya
• Moldova
• Mongolia
• Romania
• Saint-Martin
• Suriname

The Level 3 designation was actually good news for Azerbaijan, Moldova, Mongolia and Romania, which were previously at Level 4. In fact, Mongolia had been there since May 19, according to the CDC.

It was a step in the wrong direction for the Bahamas and Sint Maarten, which were at level 2, and Kenya, which had been at an even lower (and safer) level.

Last week, the isolated South American nation of Suriname was listed as “unknown,” meaning the CDC did not have enough data to make a designation.

Level 2

Destinations with the designation “Level 2: Moderate Covid-19” have recorded 50 to 99 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 inhabitants in the past 28 days. This level saw four new additions on Tuesday, including three in Africa:

• Costa-Rica
• Madagascar
• Nigeria
• Zambia

Costa Rica, a Central American favorite valued for its natural beauty and wildlife, has moved up from Level 3.

The decision was not good for Nigeria and Zambia, who were at Level 1.

Madagascar, the large island nation off the eastern coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean, had previously been classified “Unknown”.

Level 1

In the category of “Level 1: Covid-19 Low” destinations, less than 50 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants have been recorded during the last 28 days. This level had two new entries:

• Niger
• The Philippines

Niger, a landlocked West African nation perhaps best known for its historic Saharan caravan towns, has seen a steep decline. He was at level 4.

The Philippines, known for its beaches, food and friendly people, has moved up from Level 2.


Finally, there are destinations, as mentioned above, for which the CDC has an “unknown” risk due to a lack of information. Usually, but not always, these are small, remote places.

But on Tuesday, the CDC added the modern city-state of Singapore, an international crossroads, in this category. He was previously at level 4.

The CDC is warning even fully vaccinated travelers to venture to destinations without reliable statistics on the current Covid-19 situation.

In its broader travel guidelines, the CDC recommended avoiding all international travel until you are fully immunized.