EEven as the United States lifts its international travel ban on vaccinated visitors, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to monitor Covid-19 risk at destinations around the world and provide guidance to US travelers.
Travelers who paid attention to the travel agency’s health alerts list in recent weeks will see a pattern reflecting where Covid cases around the world are still rising.
Yesterday, the agency expanded its list of destinations again under Level 4 travel health declarations, adding four new countries: the Cayman Islands, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and the Faroe Islands. Last week, Belgium, Slovakia, Russia and the African country of Burkina Faso were added to the Level 4 list. Ukraine was added a week before that.
The highest of four risk categories, a level 4 travel health statement, means a country reports more than 500 new Covid-19 infections per 28 days per 100,000 people. That level of infection is considered a “very high” Covid-19 risk, and Americans are being warned to “avoid travel,” according to CDC guidelines.
The Covid-19 pandemic is not over yet, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), whose latest weekly epidemiological update counted just over 3 million new cases around the world, which is an upward trend from the previous week.
Viewed through that broad lens, it’s perhaps not surprising that currently 80 countries around the world are at level 4 on the CDC’s Covid risk map.
Covid is on the rise in Europe
According to the WHO report, Europe in particular has struggled to deal with coronavirus cases in recent weeks, with a 6% increase in new weekly cases and a 12% increase in Covid-related deaths compared to the previous week.
The European region is seeing cases of Covid infection similar to those reported in December 2020. Of the 61 countries in the region, 25 (41%) reported week-over-week increases.
The more than two dozen European destinations currently covered by a level 4 travel health clearance include tourism powerhouses such as Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Greece, Ireland, Norway, Russia, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom.
Covid is still cruising in the Caribbean
As temperatures drop in the US and tourists are eyeing tropical climates, the Caribbean contains a concentration of countries that are still reporting high numbers of new cases of Covid. The most recent WHO report noted a 145% weekly increase in new Covid cases in the Cayman Islands and a 21% increase in Puerto Rico.
More than a dozen other Caribbean countries are waging the CDC “avoid travel” warning, including Aruba, the Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda and both the British and U.S. Virgin Islands.
Covid cases drop in Africa
According to the WHO report, Covid numbers in Africa, which have been declining since mid-July, continue to follow a downward trend, with a 9% drop in cases and a 13% drop in deaths compared to the previous week. South Africa, in particular, reported a 19% drop in new cases week-over-week.
Of the six African countries with a CDC Level 4 warning, only Botswana is a major tourist attraction for Americans.
Covid cases drop in Asia
When it comes to reopening to international tourism, the Asia-Pacific region is one of the slowest and most cautious in the world. Last month, however, several Asian countries announced plans to break open their doors to tourists.
The Southeast Asia region reported a 9% drop in new Covid cases compared to the previous week, according to the WHO report. There were particularly promising declines in India (-9%), Thailand (-8%) and Myanmar (-9%).
Only a handful of Asian countries have the CDC’s Level 4 designation, including Singapore, Malaysia, Burma and the Maldives.
Covid cases are persistent in the United States
Ironically, the United States itself has been colored dark red on the CDC’s world map for much of the pandemic. In the Americas region, the latest WHO report reveals that the highest number of new cases continues to come from the US (up 7% week over week) and Brazil (flat), while Mexico saw a 6% drop on a weekly basis.
While the US is registering about 35% fewer new daily infections than a year ago, the number of new infections remains worrisome, especially in the Mountain West and Midwest regions, according to the Covid-19 tracker from the Brown School of Public Health. of the country. The U.S. reports an average of more than 616 new daily cases every 28 days per 100,000 people, well above the CDC’s Level 4 travel health notification threshold.