The view from Timothy Hill overlooking Basseterre, the capital of St. Kitts and Nevis. (photo via iStock/Getty Images Plus/BriBar)
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this week lowered its travel warning levels for multiple Caribbean countries, continuing a trend that’s occurred over the past few weeks, as COVID-19 cases have diminished around the globe.
However, the government’s watchdog health agency continues to caution Americans against traveling to many popular European destinations, among others, using its four-tier COVID-19 risk assessment model.
In fact, 89 world nations are still on the CDC’s highest risk-level list, “Level 4: COVID-19 Very High”, while 43 more have been designated “Level 3: COVID-19 High”. Eleven countries are currently rated “Level 2: COVID-19 Moderate”, 48 fall under “Level 1: COVID-19 Low” and others that haven’t supplied sufficient data for assessment are simply labeled “Level Unknown”.
This week, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines were both downgraded to the CDC’s lowest warning category, “Level 1: COVID-19 Low”. Outside of the Caribbean, Bangladesh, Haiti, Myanmar, the Philippines and Saudi Arabia were also recategorized under Level 1, according to Travel + Leisure.
To receive the lowest-risk designation, counties must have reported fewer than 50 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents over the past four weeks. Despite the low-level categorization, the CDC still recommends that travelers ensure they’re fully vaccinated before traveling to Level 1 destinations.
The CDC also continues to advise, “Even if you are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines, you may still be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19.”
Coronavirus sign at an airport. (photo via Animaflora / iStock / Getty Images Plus)
While some countries stand to benefit by making it into lower-risk categories this week, others continued at the highest cautionary tier, Level 4. That list includes several of Europe’s most sought-after vacation spots, such as Italy, France, Germany, Greece, Spain, Ireland and the United Kingdom (U.K.). Countries that are issued a Level 4 advisory are those that have recorded 500 new cases per 100,000 residents over the past 28 days.
The high-level CDC warnings may not deter American travelers much, since so-called “revenge travel” is on the rise and several of these European nations have recently loosened their pandemic-era entry restrictions, or even done away with them completely. For example, the U.K., Ireland, Iceland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden have all discarded their COVID-era travel restrictions in recent weeks. Others, such as France and the Netherlands, have removed pre-arrival testing requirements for fully vaccinated foreign visitors.