(CNN) – The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its travel advisory page for COVID-19 on Tuesday. Just two new locations, both in Africa, join the crowded “high” risk category.
But perhaps more remarkable this week is the news that two destinations in stubbornly high Europe were downgraded to “medium” risk.
The Scandinavian cultural superpower of Sweden and the heavily forested and historical Romania in Eastern Europe provide two bright spots on a continent that is classified as “high” risk.
The Level 3 “High” risk category is now top notch in terms of risk level. Level 2 is considered “moderate” risk. Level 1 is “low” risk.
Level 4, previously the highest-risk category, is now reserved only for special circumstances, such as extremely high cases, the emergence of a new type of concern or the collapse of health care infrastructure. So far no destination has been placed at Level 4 under the new system.
A herd of elephants has been seen in eastern Botswana. The southern African country is now in the third tier.
Cameron Spencer / Getty Images
The “Level 3: COVID-19 high” category now applies to places that have reported more than 100 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days. The two destinations joining Level 3 this week are:
• Cape Verde
Botswana, a landlocked safari favorite, went all the way up from Level 1, while Cape Verde, off the west coast of Africa in the North Atlantic, moved up from Level 2.
There were over 110 destinations on Level 3 as of 21 June. Level 3 locations account for about half of the 235 locations monitored by the CDC.
more on level 3
The Eiffel Tower basks in a romantic Paris twilight. France is still at level 3 of the CDC.
Martin Burroughs / AFP via Getty Images
Despite the good news on Sweden and Romania, much of Europe has stayed there for months as the summer travel season begins. As of 21 June, the following popular European destinations were among those remaining at Level 3:
• United Kingdom
But it’s not just European favorites that find themselves at level 3. Many notable travel destinations around the world are included in the ‘high’ risk category, including:
• Costa Rica
• South Korea
Birten is one of the most important Saxon villages with fortified churches in Transylvania, Romania. The Eastern European nation is now at Level 2.
Andrea Ricordi / Pall RF / Getty Images
Destinations with the designation “Level 2: COVID-19 Moderate” reported 50 to 100 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days. A total of six places were moved to this stage on Tuesday:
The move to Level 2 wasn’t really good news for Bolivia, Kenya and Morocco, unlike the two European countries, which were at Level 1 (Ethiopia didn’t appear in last week’s roundup).
To be in “Level 1: COVID-19 low”, a destination must have 49 or fewer new cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days. Six destinations spread across the globe were added to the category on 21 June:
• St. Eustatius
The move was particularly good news for the small Dutch island of Sint Eustatius in the Caribbean, which was at level 3.
Last week El Salvador, Fiji and Moldova were at Level 2 while Africa’s Guinea and Tanzania were “unknown”.
Finally, there are destinations that the CDC has deemed an “unknown” risk due to a lack of information. Usually, but not always, these are small, remote locations or places where there is ongoing war or unrest. Four places were added to this category this week:
• Democratic Republic of the Congo
The CDC advises against traveling to these places because the risks are unknown. Other destinations in this category include Cambodia, the Canary Islands, and Macau.
A medical expert weighs in on the level of risk
CNN Medical Analyst Dr. According to Lena Wayne, transmission rates are just “a guidepost” for calculating the personal risk of passengers.
We “have moved into a phase of the pandemic where people need to make their own decisions based on their medical conditions as well as their risk tolerance for contracting COVID-19,” said Wayne, who is an emergency physician. physician and professor of health policy and management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.
According to Wayne, there are other factors to weigh in addition to transmission rates.
“Another one is the one that requires precautions and followed the place you are going and then the third one is what you plan to do once you are there,” she said.
“Are you planning to visit a lot of attractions and go to indoor bars? It’s very different going somewhere where you plan to lie on the beach all day and chat with someone else.” They’re not. It’s very different. They are at 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, Wayne said.
And it’s also important to consider what you will do if you test positive while away from home.
Top image: Twilight over Ridarholmen Church in Stockholm, Sweden. (K’Nub/Pal RF/Getty Images)