CDC moves large European country to its highest level of Covid-19 travel risk


On Monday afternoon, architecturally rich Ukraine, the second-largest nation in Europe in land area, was moved up from Level 3, or “high” risk for Covid-19, to Level 4, the agency’s highest risk category.

These last two updates in October are a far cry from the situation in early August, when the CDC added 16 destinations in one week to Level 4, and Delta variant cases were rising rapidly across much of the planet.

Destinations that fall into the “Covid-19 Very High” Level 4 category have had more than 500 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days, according to CDC criteria.

Popular favorites remaining on Level 4

 A view of Bonis Windmill and the Old Port of Mykonos, Greece. This popular vacation nation remains at the CDC's Level 4.

A view of Bonis Windmill and the Old Port of Mykonos, Greece. This popular vacation nation remains at the CDC’s Level 4.

Byron Smith/Getty Images

Popular international vacation spots remained lodged at this highest level of alert, evidence of Covid-19’s continuing grip. The current list of Level 4 destinations includes:

• Austria
• Bahamas
• Botswana
• Croatia
• Greece
• Ireland
• Jamaica
• Maldives
• Switzerland
• Thailand
• Turkey
• United Kingdom

In the case of the UK, it’s been lodged at Level 4 since July 19. Greece has been there since August 2. Thailand has been there since August 9.

In total, there were 77 destinations worldwide still at Level 4 on October 25.

Lots of new entries on Level 3

The Level 3 category — which applies to destinations that have had between 100 and 500 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days — saw more action this week.

Being placed in Level 3 was a sign of progress in these seven destinations, all moving down from Level 4:

• Guatemala
• Lebanon
• Libya
• Mauritius
• Puerto Rico
• Saint Martin
• Sri Lanka

For three destinations, the move to Level 3 was a sign of worsening conditions. Egypt and the Dominican Republic had been at Level 2 (“moderate” risk), and Cayman Islands had been at an enviable Level 1 (“low” risk).

Cruising on Level 3

The CDC has updated guidance on cruising on ships such as the Norwegian Gem.

The CDC has updated guidance on cruising on ships such as the Norwegian Gem.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The CDC also added cruise ships, including river vessels, to its Level 3 warning this week and advised that only fully vaccinated people cruise. The CDC said Covid-19 “spreads easily between people in close quarters aboard ships, and the chance of getting [it] on cruise ships is high.”

Some options in Level 2

Destinations carrying the “Level 2: Covid-19 Moderate” designation have seen 50 to 99 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days.

Popular destinations in this less risky category on October 25 included the following:

• Colombia
• Peru
• Poland

Just keep in mind the CDC list updates weekly, and your lower-risk destination of choice might move up after you begin making plans.

Level 1 and no ratings

In the category of “Level 1: Covid-19 Low” destinations, fewer than 50 new cases per 100,000 residents have been logged over the past 28 days. New Zealand is in this category, but it has yet to open its doors to leisure travelers yet.

Finally, there are destinations for which the CDC has an “unknown” risk because of a lack of information. As of October 25, that included Monaco, the Azores and Tanzania.

In its broader travel guidance, the CDC has recommended avoiding all international travel until you are fully vaccinated.

“Fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to get and spread Covid-19. However, international travel poses additional risks, and even fully vaccinated travelers might be at increased risk for getting and possibly spreading some Covid-19 variants,” the agency said.

Top image: A view of the left bank of Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. (Photo by STR/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

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