(CNN) – The Central European country of Poland and the Central African nation of Niger were among four new additions to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s travel category with “very high” risk on Tuesday.
The island nations of Papua New Guinea in the southwestern Pacific and Trinidad and Tobago in the southern Caribbean were also added to level 4.
Niger moved from low-risk level 1 to level 4 on Tuesday, a move that the CDC said was due to the number of cases and not the Omicron variant discovered in southern Africa. The other three countries moved up from level 3, “high” risk.
Typically, the CDC places a destination at level 4 when more than 500 cases per 100,000 inhabitants have been registered within the last 28 days, but the addition of seven South African nations late last week to the level 4 category was due to Omicron, not their case numbers. The eighth nation affected by Omicron and the travel ban, Botswana, was already in the level 4 category.
A woman is seen walking in the ancient city of Agadez, Niger, on 15 September.
Michele Cattani / AFP via Getty Images
People should avoid traveling to places designated with a “Level 4” message, the CDC recommends. Everyone who has to travel should be fully vaccinated first, the agency advises.
Countries added to level 4 on November 30:
• Papua New Guinea
• Trinidad and Tobago
A question that worries many of our heads: How should I think about Omicron in terms of travel safety?
There is still a lot the researchers do not yet know about the new coronavirus variant, but the best thing anyone can do right now is to get vaccinated, according to Dr. William Schaffner, Professor of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
It is important to be vaccinated for two reasons, he said.
The first is the Delta variant. “It’s the virus that’s here, right now, in every single community and spreading,” Schaffner said. “But No. 2, and it has to do with Omicron, it’s likely that our vaccines will at least provide partial protection. And partial protection is always better than no protection.”
On Monday, the CDC raised its recommendations regarding booster shots to those already vaccinated due to the emergence of the Omicron variant. It now says that all 18 years and older should get a booster.
“I strongly urge the 47 million adults who have not yet been vaccinated to be vaccinated as soon as possible and to also vaccinate children and teenagers in their families, because strong immunity is likely to prevent serious illness,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky. .
The other essential safety precaution is still to wear a mask when you are out in public.
Schaffner’s advice on travel is largely the same as it was before the discovery of the new variant.
Make sure you are vaccinated, wear a mask, social distance as much as possible while traveling, and carefully consider what you will do when you get there, which is likely to put you at greater risk than the trip itself.
New level 3 entries
The CDC also made updates to its other categories on Tuesday, which at risk fall to level 1: Covid-19 low.
Level 3 category – which applies to destinations that have had between 100 and 500 cases per. 100,000 inhabitants in the last 28 days – had five updates this week, with a great view from islands from the Caribbean and the Atlantic to the South Pacific.
These five destinations moved to level 3 on November 30:
• French Polynesia
• Saint Lucia
The move was actually good news for all five destinations, which had been at level 4.
Level 2 updates
The CDC moved two countries – Argentina and Djibouti – down from level 3 to the less risky level 2. Guinea-Bissau in West Africa moved up from level 1.
These destinations moved to level 2 on November 30:
Destinations bearing the term “Level 2: Covid-19 Moderate” have seen 50 to 99 Covid-19 cases per day. 100,000 inhabitants in the last 28 days.
Keep in mind that the CDC list is updated weekly and the situation in any country can change for the better and worse from week to week.
Level 1 and no ratings
In the category for best news, four countries moved into the level 1 “low” risk category on Tuesday.
At “Level 1: Covid-19 Low” destinations, fewer than 50 new cases have been registered per destination. 100,000 inhabitants in the last 28 days.
The four destinations moved into Level 1 on November 30 are:
• British Virgin Islands
• Democratic Republic of Congo
Finally, there are destinations where the CDC has an “unknown” risk due to lack of information. Pr. November 30 included that list Burundi, Madagascar, Cambodia, Nicaragua and Macau.
“Fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to get and spread Covid-19. However, international travel poses additional risks, and even fully vaccinated travelers may be at increased risk of getting and possibly spreading some Covid-19 variants,” the agency said.