By Forrest Brown and Marnie Hunter | CNN
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The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention moved five Caribbean destinations into its highest-risk travel category for Covid-19 on Monday.
In total, the CDC has moved 15 locations to Level 4, or “very high” risk, indicating the continuation of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus in the world today. Last week, 22 destinations were added to Level 4.
CDC puts the destination at Level 4 when there are more than 500 cases per 100,000 residents registered in the last 28 days. CDC advises travelers to avoid traveling to Level 4 countries.
The 15 locations added this week are:
• Costa Rica
• Dominican Republic
• Saint Barthelemy
• Saint Martin
• United Arab Emirates
Caribbean destinations – Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Jamaica, Saint Barthélemy and Saint Martin – represent a third of this week’s new entries. Haiti, which is located on the island of Hispaniola along with the Dominican Republic, is already at Level 4. And Saint Martin of France also shares an island with Sint Maarten of the Netherlands, which is already at Level 4.
Other popular Caribbean destinations are already at Level 4. These include Aruba, the Bahamas, Barbados, the British Virgin Islands, Curaçao and Turks and Caicos, among others.
The two mainland countries with Caribbean coastlines – Costa Rica in Central America and Colombia in South America – are also at Tier 4.
Other notable travel hotspots added to Level 4 this week that the CDC recommends travelers avoid: Peru, home to Machu Picchu, and the United Arab Emirates, home to Dubai.
Last week, 14 of the 15 destinations were at Level 3, considered a “high” risk for Covid-19.
Niger, a landlocked West African country famous for its ancient caravan cities, was once at Level 1, considered “low” risk.
The Level 4 List currently has nearly 120 positions. At the beginning of Januaryalready has about 80 destinations, further proving the reach of the Omicron variant.
You can see the CDC’s risk profile for global destinations on travel recommendation page.
The CDC does not include the United States on its list of advisors, but it was color-coded at Level 4 on Jan. tourism risk level map.
In it wider travel guideThe CDC has recommended avoiding all international travel until you are fully immunized.
Situation in Europe
While much of the Caribbean is moving into Level 4 this week, almost all of Europe has been firmly anchored there for a few weeks or months now. Those include some of the continent’s biggest names.
Romania is the only new European addition to Level 4 this week.
Additional level 3
Category Level 3 – which applies to destinations with between 100 and 500 cases per 100,000 residents in the last 28 days – had 10 additions on Monday:
• Equatorial Guinea
• Republic of the Congo
Four of the destinations – Equatorial Guinea in Central Africa; Japan; Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia; and Senegal in West Africa – already has a Level 1 “low” risk.
The remaining six were already at Level 2.
Levels 2, 1 and Unknown
Destinations that carry the “Severe 2: Moderate Covid-19” designation have seen 50 to 99 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days. That level only had two new additions on Monday.
They did Bangladeshalready at Level 1, and is the small kingdom of Bruneiwas “unknown” last week.
To be at “Level 1: Covid-19 Low,” a destination must have fewer than 50 new cases per 100,000 residents in the last 28 days. No new additions were made on Monday.
China, which hosted the Winter Olympic Games in February, has been at Level 1 since May 2021. It’s one of a dozen destinations currently at Level 1.
Finally, there are destinations where the CDC is at risk of “unknown” because of a lack of information. Usually, but not always, these are small, remote places or places where war or unrest is ongoing. There are no additions this week.
Among the popular destinations at risk of “unknown” are Cambodia, French Polynesia and Tanzania. The CDC recommends against traveling to these places because of the unknown risks.
Cruise on the sea
The CDC covers cruise ships on its destination list.
On December 30, the CDC increased the risk for cruise travel to Level 4 and said it should be avoided, regardless of vaccination status. It is still at Level 4 in the latest update.
Meanwhile, CDC’s Covid-19 instructions have become optional for many cruise ships.
The CDC’s Extended Conditional Sailing Order recently expired, and the agency has transitioned to a voluntary program for foreign-flagged cruise ships operating in U.S. waters.
Considerations when traveling
Leana Wen, a CNN medical analyst, emergency physician, and professor of health policy and management at George Washington University, Milken Institute of Public Health.
“Transmission speed is one of the guiding principles,” says Wen. “The other is what you need to watch out for and follow where you are going and the third is what you plan to do when you get there.
“Are you planning on going to a lot of attractions and going to indoor bars? That’s very different from you going somewhere where you plan to lie on the beach all day and not come into contact with anyone else. That is very different. Those are very different levels of risk.”
Immunization is the most important safety factor for travel because unvaccinated travelers are more likely to get sick and pass Covid-19 on to others, Wen said.
She says people should wear a high-quality mask – N95, KN95 or KF94 – whenever they are in a crowded indoor environment with people with unknown vaccination status.
Before traveling, it’s important to consider what you’ll do if you end up testing positive while away from home, Wen said. Where will you be and will it be easy for you to take the test back home?
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https://www.mercurynews.com/2022/01/25/cdc-adds-5-more-caribbean-island-destinations-to-its-highest-level-of-travel-risk/ CDC adds 5 more Caribbean destinations with highest travel risk