CDC Adds Puerto Rico, Switzerland and Others to List of ‘Very High’ COVID-19 Travel Risks
WASHINGTON – Puerto Rico, Guam, St. Lucia, and Switzerland are among the places travelers should avoid visiting, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recently updated list of travel advisories.
The CDC on Monday added seven destinations to its “Very High Level 4: Covid-19” list, which states that individuals should avoid traveling to those countries. The locations include the US territories of Puerto Rico and Guam, as well as Azerbaijan, Estonia, North Macedonia, Saint Lucia, and Switzerland.
The travel advisories list regularly updated by the agency ranges from level 1 or “low” risk of COVID-19 transmission, to “very high”.
Countries that fall under the CDC’s level 4 category have reported more than 500 new cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 population in the past 28 days. The level 3 designation is intended for destinations with between 100 and 500 new cases during the same period.
The US State Department also added Azerbaijan, Estonia, North Macedonia, Saint Lucia and Switzerland to its own “Level 4: Do not travel” list on Monday due to the increase in cases. of COVID-19. He also urged individuals to “reconsider travel” to Canada, Germany, Bermuda, Indonesia and a number of other countries on his level 3 list.
FILE – A family proceeds to security screening at John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, Calif., June 30, 2021 (Photo by Paul Bersebach / MediaNews Group / Orange County Register via Getty Images)
For those who must travel to a high-risk destination, the CDC recommends that they be fully immunized before leaving. All air passengers coming to the United States, including U.S. citizens and fully vaccinated individuals, are required to provide a negative COVID-19 test result no more than three days prior. They can also show documentation of COVID-19 recovery in the past three months before boarding a flight to the United States.
The updated travel advisories come as the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus continues to circulate around the world. In the United States, deaths from COVID-19 are reaching more than 1,200 per day nationwide – the highest level since mid-March. New cases per day average over 155,000, going back to where things were in January.
On Monday, the European Union recommended its 27 countries to reinstate restrictions on tourists from the United States due to the increase in COVID-19 infections, but may still allow fully vaccinated travelers if they do. wish.
The European Council decision overturned a recommendation made in June when the EU lifted restrictions on American travelers ahead of the summer tourist season. The EU has also since faced an increase in infections this summer, driven by the delta variant.
Member countries still have the power to decide whether or how to keep their borders open during the pandemic, which means American tourists should expect a mix of rules for traveling across the continent. Possible restrictions on US travelers could include quarantines, additional testing requirements on arrival, or even a total ban on all non-essential travel from the United States.
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In Washington, White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Monday stressed that EU travel restrictions apply to the unvaccinated, adding that “the quickest path to reopen travel is for those who are not vaccinated. people to get vaccinated, to mask and slow the spread of the deadly virus. “
Paski told reporters that the US government is working with federal agencies to develop its own policy for international travel, with the ability to tighten testing protocols and potentially ensure that foreign visitors are fully vaccinated. But she said no final decision has yet been made.
Several international travelers are currently prohibited from entering the United States, including those from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Brazil, South Africa, India, China and a number from European countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia , Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican.
This story was reported from Cincinnati. The Associated Press contributed.