Southern African countries join CDC list for ‘very high’ travel risks

(CNN) – Eight southern African countries are listed at the CDC’s highest travel risk level for Covid-19. Countries are subject to various global travel bans due to the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention placed seven of these countries at Level 4 (highest travel risk) on November 27, a day after President Joe Biden made its travel ban proclamation.

These destinations are:

South Africa

An eighth nation in this group – Botswana – was already on a level 4 travel warning since July 6.

However, Southern African countries were added to Level 4 and subject to Biden’s travel ban because of Omicron, not their case numbers.

“The travel restrictions were implemented due to concerns about the Omicron variant and unknowns surrounding the variant,” the CDC said in an email to CNN Travel on Monday afternoon. “There is enough evidence to act to restrict movement and slow the spread of the variant, while learning more about the degree of threat posed by this variant.”

The CDC’s other risk levels:

Level 1 is “low risk” with less than 50 new cases per 100,000 population recorded in the last 28 days.

Level 2 is “at moderate risk” with 50 to 99 new cases per 100,000 population in the last 28 days.

Level 3 is “high risk” with 100 to 500 cases per 100,000 population in the past 28 days.

Before news of the Omicron variant swept the world, Eswatini, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe were at level 1. Namibia was at level 2 and Lesotho at level 3.

These Southern African countries were the only changes in the November 27 CDC update requested by Omicron. Due to the holiday period, the CDC said it did not have another update for Monday but will update his list later in the week.

Other nations at level 4

Singapore is one of the destinations at level 4.

ROSLAN RAHMAN / AFP / AFP / Getty Images

The eight destinations in Southern Africa are hardly alone at Level 4. Before the Omicron alarm sounded late last week, much of the attention of Covid-19 was focused on a wave of cases in Europe.

Some of the popular tourist destinations in Europe – and elsewhere in the world – still at Level 4 on Monday included:

• Austria
• Barbados
• Belgium
• Costa-Rica
• Czech Republic
• Iceland
• Netherlands
• Singapore
• Turkey

In total, more than 80 destinations are now at level 4.

Should I stay or should I go?

A question that preoccupies many of our minds: how should I think of Omicron in terms of travel safety?

There are still many scientists who do not yet know about the new variant of the coronavirus, but the best thing to do right now is to get vaccinated, according to Dr William Schaffner, professor of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Getting the vaccine is essential for two reasons, he said.

The first is the Delta variant. “It’s the virus that’s here, right now, in every community, spreading,” Schaffner said. “But # 2, and it has to do with Omicron, it’s likely that our vaccines will provide at least partial protection. And partial protection is always better than no protection.”

The other essential safety measure is to wear a mask when you are in public.

Schaffner’s advice on travel is largely the same as before the discovery of the new variant.

Make sure you get vaccinated, wear a mask, get away from it socially as much as possible during your trip, and think carefully about what to do when you get there, which likely puts you at greater risk than the trip to him. -same.

Level 3 entries

The level 3 category had five updates last week, with wide circulation in the Caribbean. These five destinations were upgraded to level 3 on November 22:

• Aruba
• Curacao
• Guadeloupe
• Israel
• US Virgin Islands

The move was actually good news for all five destinations, which were at Level 4. You can view the CDC’s risk levels for global destinations on its website. travel recommendations page.
In his broader travel advice, the CDC has recommended avoiding all international travel until you are fully immunized.

“Fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to contract and spread Covid-19. However, international travel poses additional risks, and even fully vaccinated travelers may be at increased risk of contracting and possibly spreading certain variants of Covid-19. “the agency said.

Top image: A surfer carries his board as he braves the cold ocean waters near Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Marco Longari / AFP via Getty Images)

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