Germany and Denmark move into the CDC’s highest risk category for travel

Some of the charming Christmas markets that typically draw crowds in Germany at this time of year have already been canceled, including the popular Christmas market in Munich.

After lifting the domestic Covid restrictions in September, Denmark is once again struggling with an increase in Covid cases and is advocating renewed restrictions. In Copenhagen, the famous Tivoli opened its Christmas season last Friday.

That was not all bad news in the recent updates to the CDC’s list of travel guides. Covid ratios improved in a dozen African countries (see the lower risk categories below).

On Monday, Denmark moved up to the CDC's highest risk category for travel.  In June, when this picture was taken in Copenhagen, the Covid situation was better.

On Monday, Denmark moved up to the CDC’s highest risk category for travel. In June, when this picture was taken in Copenhagen, the Covid situation was better.

Jonathan Nackstrand / AFP via Getty Images

Destinations that fall under the CDC’s “Covid-19 Very High” level 4 category have had more than 500 cases per year. 100,000 inhabitants in the last 28 days.

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.

To sum up, these two destinations moved to level 4 on November 22:

• Denmark
• Germany

Visiting iconic attractions such as Neuschwanstein Castle near Füssen in southern Germany, it may be necessary to wait.  Germany moved into the CDC's highest risk travel category on Monday.

Visiting iconic attractions such as Neuschwanstein Castle near Füssen in southern Germany, it may be necessary to wait. Germany moved into the CDC’s highest risk travel category on Monday.

Christof Stache / AFP via Getty Images / File

Previously, they were two destinations had been listed in the level 3 category “Covid-19 High” risk. By moving to level 4, they join the ranks of other travel favorites in Europe and elsewhere. They include:

• Austria
• Belgium
Costa Rica
• Czech Republic
• Netherlands
• Singapore
• Turkey

In total, about 75 destinations are currently at level 4. The United Kingdom and the British Virgin Islands have been staying at level 4 since 19 July.

New level 3 entries

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 major exhibition in the Caribbean.

These five destinations moved to level 3 on November 22:

• Aruba
• Curaçao
• Guadeloupe
• Israel
US Virgin Islands

The move was actually good news for all five destinations, which had been at level 4.

There are other factors for travelers to consider in addition to the Covid-19 frequency rates, which are prominent in the CDC’s travel announcements, according to CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen.

“Transmission speeds are one guide post. Another is what precautions are required and followed at the place you are going, and then the third is what do you plan to do once you are there,” said Wen, an emergency physician and professor of Health Policy and Management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.

“Are you planning on visiting a lot of attractions and going to indoor bars? It’s very different than going to a place where you plan to lie on the beach all day and not interact with anyone else,” said Wen, who is also author of a new book, “Lifelines: A Doctor’s Journey in the Fight for Public Health.”

The most important thing is that travelers need to be vaccinated, she said.

Level 2 update

The CDC moved three African countries – Benin, Equatorial Guinea and Ethiopia – down from level 3 to the less risky level 2.

For the fourth new level 2 entrance, New Zealand, the situation has worsened. The nation, which moved up from level 1, has recently moved away from its zero-Covid strategy and is now focusing on vaccination efforts and living with the virus.

These destinations moved to level 2 on November 22:

• Benin
• Equatorial Guinea
• Ethiopia
• New Zealand

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.

A boatman is rowing across the Bou Regreg River near the Oudaya Kasbah between the town of Sale and the Moroccan capital Rabat.  Morocco has just landed in "low" risk category for travel.

A boatman is rowing across the Bou Regreg River near the Oudaya Kasbah between the town of Sale and the Moroccan capital Rabat. Morocco has just landed in the “low” risk category for travel.

FADEL SENNA / AFP / AFP via Getty Images

Level 1 and no ratings

In the category for best news, there were some significant additions where a dozen countries moved into the level 1 “low” risk category. The news from Africa was especially good. African countries accounted for three quarters of the new enrollments.

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 12 destinations moved to level 1 on November 22 are:

• Bangladesh
• Eswatini
• Ghana
• Kenya
• Kosovo
• Morocco
• Nigeria
• South Africa
• Go
• Uganda
• United Arab Emirates
• Zimbabwe

Several of them – including Kenya, Morocco and South Africa – are among Africa’s most significant tourist attraction.

Finally, there are destinations where the CDC has an “unknown” risk due to lack of information. On November 22, that list was incl Burundi, Madagascar, Cambodia, Nicaragua and Macau.

In its broader travel guide, the CDC has recommended avoiding all international travel until you are fully vaccinated.

“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.

Top image: People walk past closed stalls at the canceled Christmas market on Marienplatz on November 20, 2021 in Munich, Germany. (Photo: Lukas Barth / Getty Images)

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