CDC places Canada at ‘very high’ risk of travel due to peak in Covid

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(CNN) – Canada was moved to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s highest risk category on Monday.

The second largest country in the world by total area, Canada has seen a sharp increase in the number of cases as the Omicron variant spreads. The country registered 294,437 new cases for the week ending Jan.8. according to figures from Johns Hopkins University, its highest weekly total in the pandemic.

Canada was joined by another destination – the Caribbean island of Curaçao – to move up to CDC level 4 on Monday: Covid-19 Very High.

The CDC places a destination at Level 4 when more than 500 cases per 100,000 population have been recorded in the past 28 days. The CDC advises travelers to avoid traveling to Level 4 countries.

Canada was previously at level 3 since August 30, 2021. Curaçao, an autonomous country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, was at level 3 since November 22, 2021.

Most international visitors to Canada must be vaccinated and have a negative Covid-19 test result.

Pastel-colored buildings line the waterfront in the old town of Willemstad, Curacao. This Dutch island was elevated to risk level 4 by the CDC, joining the sister islands “ABC” of Aruba and Bonaire.

Daniel Slim / AFP via Getty Images

In addition to the new entries Canada and Curacao, some of the biggest names in travel remain firmly housed at CDC level 4 for the moment:

• France
• Iceland
Ireland
• Italy
• Netherlands
• Portugal
• South Africa
• Spain
• Switzerland
• UK

More than 80 destinations were classified at level 4 on January 10. You can view the CDC’s risk levels for global destinations on its travel recommendations page.
In his broader travel advice, the CDC has recommended avoiding all international travel until you are fully immunized.

Cruise

Norwegian Gem, owned by Norwegian <a class=Cruise Line Holdings, is docked in PortMiami in August 2021.”/>

Norwegian Gem, owned by Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, is docked in PortMiami in August 2021.

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Level 3 additions

The level 3 category – which applies to destinations that have recorded between 100 and 500 cases per 100,000 population in the past 28 days – saw 10 new additions on Monday from various regions:

• Armenia
• Bahrain
• Belarus
• Green cap
• Ethiopia
• Lesotho
• Singapore
• United Arab Emirates
• Zambia
• Zimbabwe

The Tier 3 designation was actually good news for Armenia and Belarus, which were previously at Tier 4.

It was also good news for Lesotho and Zimbabwe, two of eight countries in southern Africa that landed at Level 4 in late November after the Omicron variant was discovered in the region. The United States travel ban affecting those countries was lifted on December 31.

It was a step in the wrong direction for Bahrain, Cape Verde, Ethiopia and Zambia, which were at level 2. The UAE jumped two levels of risk from level 1.

And Singapore, which was listed as unknown last week due to a lack of information, has moved up to level 3.

Level 2

Destinations with the designation “Level 2: Moderate Covid-19” have recorded 50 to 99 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 inhabitants in the past 28 days. That level saw eight new additions on Monday, including five in Africa:

• Democratic Republic of Congo
• El Salvador
• Fiji
• Kuwait
• Liberia
• Rwanda
• Sao Tome and Principe
• Go

Level 1 and Unknown

In the category of “Level 1: Covid-19 Low” destinations, less than 50 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants have been recorded during the last 28 days. There were no updates in this category on Monday.

Finally, there are destinations for which the CDC has an “unknown” risk due to a lack of information. Usually, but not always, these are small, remote places. No new destinations were listed in the “unknown” category on Monday.

Travel considerations

Transmission rates are important to consider when making travel decisions, but there are other factors to consider as well, according to Dr. Leana Wen, CNN medical analyst, emergency physician and professor of policy. and health management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.

“Transmission rates are a benchmark,” Wen said. “Another is the precautions that are needed and followed where you are going and the third is what you plan to do once you are there.

“Do you plan to visit a lot of attractions and go to indoor bars? It’s a lot different going to a place where you plan on lying on the beach all day and not interacting with someone else. It is very different. These are very different levels of risk.

Vaccination is the most important safety factor for travel, as unvaccinated travelers are more likely to get sick and transmit Covid-19 to others, Wen said.

She said people should wear a high-quality mask – N95, KN95 or KF94 – whenever they are in crowded indoor environments with people whose vaccine status is unknown.

Before you travel, it’s also important to think about what you would do if you ended up testing positive away from home, Wen said. Where will you be staying and will it be easy to take a test to get home?

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