CDC raises Saba from low travel risk to high for Covid

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(CNN) — After lowering the risk level of many of the world’s top destinations last week in conjunction with an overhaul of its travel ratings, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has added just one location to its “high” risk category on Monday.

The small Caribbean island of Saba – a special municipality in the Netherlands known for its rugged hiking terrain and having the world’s shortest commercial trail – has been moved to level 3.

The Level 3 “high” risk category is now the top tier in terms of risk level. Level 2 is considered “moderate” risk and level 1 is “low” risk. Saba was at level 1.

Level 4 is now reserved only for special circumstances. Under the new system, no destinations have been placed at Tier 4 so far.

The overhaul comes amid a backdrop of U.S. government agencies and the public continuing to respond and adapt to an ever-changing — and sometimes deeply disagreeing — pandemic.

Last week, a federal judge overturned the federal mask mandate for transportation. It set off a quick chain of reactions and the CDC asked the Justice Department to appeal. In the meantime, masks are for now largely optional on planes, trains and public transport. (Some airports and transit systems have their own masking rules).

Saba, which moved to the CDC’s “high” risk category on Monday, is known for its tiny airport runway – the world’s shortest commercial runway.

Albert Nieboer/picture alliance/dpa/AP

Level 3

Under the CDC’s new system, the Level 3 “high” risk category applies to destinations that have recorded more than 100 cases per 100,000 population in the past 28 days.

However, Saba is not the only one at this level. Much of Europe is still housed there with the summer travel season not too far away. On April 25, these popular nations included:

• France
• Germany
• Greece
• Ireland
• Italy
• Portugal
• Spain
• UK

It’s not just European favorites that end up in Tier 3. Other popular high-risk travel locations around the world include:

• Brazil
• Canada
• Egypt
• Malaysia
• Mexico
• South Korea
• Thailand

There are nearly 120 Tier 3 destinations this week, a small drop from the previous week and representing just over half of the approximately 235 total spots monitored by the CDC.

The CDC does not include the United States in its advisory list, but on its color coded world mapthe CDC had it at level 3 on Monday.
Indonesia is one of four destinations that have shifted to the "moderate" Covid-19 risk category Monday.

Indonesia is one of four destinations that moved to the “moderate” Covid-19 risk category on Monday.

Philip/Adobe Stock

Level 2

Destinations with the designation “Tier 2: Moderate Covid-19” have reported 50 to 100 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 population in the past 28 days. Four destinations were moved to this level on Monday. They are:

• El Salvador
• Indonesia
• Oman
• United Arab Emirates

These four places were at Level 3 last week. The CDC listed only 13 destinations worldwide at the moderate risk level as of Monday.

In his wider travel advicethe CDC has recommended avoiding all international travel until you are fully immunized.
If you are concerned about a health situation unrelated to Covid-19, Check here.
Azerbaijan moved to

Azerbaijan moved to “low” risk on Monday. The Old Town of Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku, is seen here.

r_andrei/Adobe Stock

Level 1

To be at “Level 1: Covid-19 low”, a destination must have 49 new cases or less per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 28 days. Three destinations were added on April 25:

• Armenia
• Azerbaijan
• Libya

The decline was most impressive for Libya, which was in Tier 3 high risk. Armenia and Azerbaijan, both in the mountainous Caucasus region where Asia and Europe meet, were at Tier 2.

This level is dominated by destinations in Africa, including Kenya, Rwanda and Senegal. Tier 1 had about 55 total entries this week.

Unknown

Finally, there are destinations for which the CDC has an “unknown” risk due to lack of information. Usually, but not always, these are small, remote places or places where war or unrest is going on.

There was a new entry in this category on Monday: The Gambiaa small nation in West Africa.

The Azores, Cambodia and Nicaragua attract their fair share of visitors in this category. The CDC advises against travel to these places precisely because the risks are unknown.

Medical expert weighs in on risk levels

Transmission rates are “a benchmark” for travelers’ personal risk calculations, according to CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen.

We have entered “a phase of the pandemic where people have to make their own decisions based on their medical situation as well as their risk tolerance when it comes to contracting Covid-19,” said Wen, who is an emergency physician and professor. in Health Policy and Management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.

There are other factors to weigh in addition to transmission rates, according to Wen.

“Another is what precautions are needed and followed where you are going, and then the third is what you plan to do once you get there.

“Are you planning on visiting a lot of attractions and going to indoor bars? It’s very different from going somewhere where you plan to lay on the beach all day and not interact with anyone outside. “other. It’s very different. It’s 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.

And it’s also important to think about what you would do if you became positive outside of your home. Where will you be staying and how easy will it be to take a test to return home?

Top image: Windwardside, Saba, Netherlands Antilles. (¡zenzen!/Adobe Stock)

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