(CNN) — In its first travel warning update for 2022, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) added just one new destination to its highest-risk category: Aruba, a popular winter getaway in the Caribbean. .
The CDC advises travelers to avoid Arubaa Dutch island off South America, as it is now at level 4 with a “very high level” of covid-19 risk.
The CDC places a destination at Level 4 when there are more than 500 cases per 100,000 population in the past 28 days.
This is a slowdown compared to the rate of incorporations of the last two weeks. A week ago, Sweden and two other European nations were added to Tier 4. And two weeks ago, Spain and seven other destinations around the world were placed in Tier 4.
Europe’s persistent problems
The travel situation in Europe due to covid-19 has improved slightly this week. The CDC has only moved two destinations on this continent, none of them very popular, to a lower tier (see tier 3 below).
Some of the most important destinations in Europe remain at CDC level 4 for now:
- The Netherlands
In fact, the UK has been at Level 4 since July 19.
However, Europe is not the only continent with popular tourism destinations at Level 4. Other places that are also considered “very high” risk for travel include:
- South Africa
More than 80 destinations were ranked at Level 4 as of January 4. You can check the CDC’s risk levels for destinations around the world on their travel advice page.
On Dec. 30, the CDC raised the risk of cruise travel to an all-time high and said it should be avoided, regardless of vaccination status.
Since the announcement, one of the largest cruise ships operating in the Mediterranean has become the latest to be hit by a covid outbreak. MSC Cruises has confirmed that 45 covid-positive passengers disembarked from its MSC Grandiosa cruise ship in the Italian port of Genoa on Monday, less than 1% of those on board.
Additions at level 3
In the Tier 3 category, which applies to destinations with between 100 and 500 covid-19 cases per 100,000 population in the past 28 days, there were eight new additions from different regions on Tuesday:
- San Martin
The Tier 3 designation was actually good news for Azerbaijan, Moldova, Mongolia and Romania, which were previously at Tier 4. In fact, Mongolia had been there since May 19, according to the CDC.
This was a step in the wrong direction for the Bahamas and Sint Maarten, which were at Tier 2, and Kenya, which was at an even lower (and safer) Tier 1.
Last week, the isolated South American nation of Suriname was in the “unknown” risk category, meaning the CDC did not have enough data to make a designation.
Destinations with the designation “Level 2: Moderate COVID-19” have recorded between 50 and 99 cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 population in the past 28 days. At this level there were four novelties this Tuesday, including three in Africa:
- Costa Rica
Costa Rica, one of Central America’s favorite countries for its natural beauty and wildlife, has moved from Tier 3.
The change was not positive for Nigeria and Zambia, which were in Tier 1.
Madagascar, the large island nation off the east coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean, had previously been classified as at “unknown” risk.
In the “Tier 1: Low COVID-19” destination category, there have been fewer than 50 new cases per 100,000 population in the past 28 days. This level has two new entries:
Niger, a landlocked West African country perhaps best known for its historic Saharan caravans, has seen a major decline. He was at level 4.
The Philippines, known for its beaches, cuisine and friendly people, has moved from Tier 2.
Finally, there are destinations, such as those mentioned above, for which the CDC maintains an “unknown” level of risk due to a lack of information. Usually, but not always, these are small and remote places.
But on Tuesday, the CDC added the modern city-state of Singapore, a busy international crossing. Previously, it was at risk level 4.
The CDC is even warning fully vaccinated travelers not 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.