(CNN) — The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added no new destinations to its list of “high” Covid-19 risk nations and territories on Monday.
However, “high” risk locations – designated as Level 3 – still account for nearly 130 of the approximately 235 locations monitored by the CDC.
That’s more than half of all locations on the CDC’s site, and some of these destinations are among the most popular with tourists from around the world.
Only one country, the sparsely populated desert nation of Namibia, moved from Tier 3 to a lower risk rating this week.
The designation applies to places that have recorded more than 100 cases per 100,000 population in the past 28 days. Levels 2 and 1 are considered “moderate” and “low” risk respectively.
Relatively few places in the world are currently at level 2 or 1.
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.
“Unknown” is for locations from which the CDC has not received enough data to make an assessment.
Learn more about level 3
Amsterdam’s bridges and canals are a tourist favorite in the Netherlands, which is level 3 with much of Europe.
Much of Europe has been stubbornly lodged in Tier 3 for months, with the summer travel season now beginning to wind down. The following popular European destinations were among those remaining in Tier 3 as of August 22:
• 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
And level 3 is not limited to heavyweights. Example: Saint-Pierre et Miquelon, an autonomous archipelago territory of France located off the southern coast of Newfoundland in Canada, and the French island department of Réunion in the Indian Ocean, are also included in this category.
A beautiful sunset highlights the dunes of the Namib Desert in Sossusvlei, Namibia. The South African nation dropped to Tier 2 this week.
Iuliia Sokolovska/Adobe Stock
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 added two Tier 2 destinations on Monday:
This decision was bad news for Cuba, which was at Tier 1. Namibia dropped from Tier 3.
There are only 19 locations listed at Level 2 this week. Some of the most visited places in this category are India, Kenya, and South Africa.
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. Only one new location was added to the category on August 22: Saudi Arabiawhich was level 2.
Only 22 places were in the “low” risk category this week. Some of the most popular places for world travelers in the low-risk category this week include 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.
A new destination has been added this week: the tiny West African nation of Benignwhich was at level 1.
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, the Maldives and Vietnam.
There are nearly 70 locations listed as “unknown” this week, representing nearly a third 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 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. “other. It’s very different. It’s 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.
Top image: Moored boats dot the waterfront of Buzios, a resort town not far from Rio de Janeiro. (Ekaterina Belova/Adobe Stock)