(CNN) – The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday placed three new destinations in its “high-risk” category for Covid-19, including the North American travel giant.
The “High” level 3 risk category is now the first in terms of the level of risk. Level 2 is considered a “moderate” risk. Level 1 “low” risk.
Level 4, previously the highest risk category, is now reserved only for special circumstances, such as an extremely high case number, the emergence of a new worrying variable or a collapse in healthcare infrastructure. Under the new system, no destination has been placed at level 4 yet.
The ‘Level 3: Covid-19 High’ category now applies to countries with more than 100 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days.
The three places that joined Level 3 this week are:
• New Caledonia
• The United Arab Emirates
Mexico, a favorite destination for American tourists, and the United Arab Emirates, a hot spot in the Middle East, were in second place last week.
New Caledonia, popular with divers, was in the previously unknown category, meaning the CDC didn’t have enough data from the Pacific Ocean destination to assign a category.
There were approximately 115 Level 3 destinations on June 13. Level 3 sites represent nearly half of the approximately 235 places monitored by the CDC.
3 . level
Classic view of Florence, Italy. The southern European country is still at level 3.
rh2010 / Adobe Stock
Mexico and the UAE are not the preferred destinations for travel in the “high” risk category. Many other popular travel destinations are also located at Level 3.
Much of Europe has been stubbornly sheltered there for months as the summer travel season begins. As of June 13, the following popular European destinations were among those that remained in Tier 3:
• United kingdom
And it’s not just European favorites that find themselves in Tier 3. Several notable travel destinations around the world are among those in the “high” risk category, including the following:
• Costa Rica
• South Korea
Oak Ridge area on the island of Roatan, Honduras, at sunrise. Honduras relegated to Tier 2 this week.
Wollwerth Images / Adobe Stock
Destinations rated “Level 2: Moderate Covid-19” have reported 50 to 100 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days. Three places moved to this level on Monday:
• green head
The move was good news for Honduras and the quiet Caribbean island of Saba, which was at level 3. Cape Verde, the Atlantic archipelago off the coast of Africa, was at level 1.
There were only 16 destinations listed as Level 2 on June 13.
Classic cars are part of the old Havana scene. Cuba has been moved to Level 1, which is considered a “low” risk for Covid.
diegograndi / Adobe Stock
To be at ‘Level 1: Covid-19 Low’, a destination must have had 49 or fewer new cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days. Only two destinations were added to the category on June 13:
Both countries were at level 2.
Finally, there are destinations that the CDC has deemed to have “unknown” risks due to a lack of information. Usually, but not always, these are small, remote places or places with constant war or unrest. Two places have been added to this category this week:
• the moldive Islands
Both were at level 3 last week.
The CDC advises against travel to these places specifically because the risks are unknown. Other destinations in this category include Cambodia, the Canary Islands, Macau, and Tanzania.
Medical expert weighs in risk levels
Commuting rates are just “one guide” to travelers’ personal risk calculations, according to CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen.
We have moved to “a stage in the pandemic where people need to make their own decisions based on their medical conditions as well as their own risk tolerance when it comes to contracting Covid-19,” said Wayne, an emergency physician and university professor. Health Policy and Management at The George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.
Wen said there are other factors that should be weighed in addition to transmission rates.
“Another is what precautions are required and which are followed where you are going, and the third is what you plan to do once you get there,” she said.
“Do you plan to visit a lot of attractions and go to indoor bars? This is very different from going somewhere where you plan to lie on the beach all day and not interact with anyone else. This is completely different. These are very different levels of risk.”
Wen said vaccination is the most important safety factor for travel, as unvaccinated travelers are more likely to get sick and pass Covid-19 to others.
It’s also important to think about what you’ll do if you end up testing positive away from home.
Top photo: A tropical beach setting on Isla Holbox in Mexico’s Quintana Roo state. (Zstock / Adobe Stock)
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