CDC adds six destinations to COVID-19 'high risk' travel category

Fiji is one of six new destinations added to the Centers for Disease Control’s “Level 3: COVID-19 High” category. Photo courtesy of fiji.gov.

July 25 (UPI) — Rising COVID-19 cases have prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to add six new countries to its high risk category, warning travelers to make sure they are up to date with all COVID-19 vaccines and boosters before visiting.

Central American countries El Salvador and Honduras, in addition to Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Fiji, and Poland were all added Monday to the CDC’s “Level 3: COVID-19 High” category. That is the highest risk category based on recent COVID-19 cases with more than 100 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days.

As of Monday, there were more than 120 destinations at Level 3 with much of Europe, including France, Germany, Greece, Italy and Britain, seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases during the busy summer travel season.

Five new destinations moved into the CDC’s “Level 2: COVID-19 Moderate” category with 50 to 100 new cases per 100,000 residents reported in the past 28 days in India, Moldova, the Philippines, Togo and Equatorial Guinea.

In April, the CDC renamed its Level 4 category to “Special Circumstances/Do Not Travel” to cover areas with extremely high case counts, an emergence of a new variant or healthcare infrastructure collapse. As of Monday, the CDC had no Level 4 COVID-19 travel health notices.

This is “a phase in the pandemic where people need to make their own decisions based on their medical circumstances as well as their risk tolerance when it comes to contracting COVID-19,” Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health, told CNN.

“Are you planning to visit a lot of attractions and go to indoor bars? That’s very different from you’re going somewhere where you’re planning to lie on the beach all day and not interact with anyone else,” Wen said. “Those are very different levels of risk.”