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As we enter another phase of COVID-19 uncertainty with the emergence of the new Omicron strain along with the increase in Delta-caused infections in many parts of the world, the U.S. Department of State and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have updated their travel warnings this week, moving more European and African destinations to the level 4 alert.
South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique, Malawi, Lesotho, eSwatini and Botswana are among the last countries to receive the designation of “no travel”, as well as a ban on traveling to foreign visitors from these countries due to the appearance of the Omicron strain. Poland was also added to the Level 4 list, the latest in a growing list of European destinations that the US government is urging Americans to avoid.
The current warnings are intended to inform U.S. residents about the risks associated with traveling abroad, so that people can make more informed travel decisions and enjoy relatively safe travel. If you plan to travel soon, here’s what you need to know about the latest travel guidelines.
What is a travel notice?
The current risks associated with COVID-19, especially as new variants emerge, present challenges and uncertainties for travel. To make the experience a little less confusing, the State Department has aligned its travel safety warnings with the CDC’s science-based travel health warnings to warn travelers about the dangers and threats of COVID- 19 abroad.
Level 4 travel notice
Level 4 is the highest alert. Countries that register more than 500 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 28 days per 100,000 population are designated on the CDC Level 4 list. According to CDC guidelines, people are asked to “avoid traveling” to level 4 destinations, but if they have to travel, they should be fully vaccinated.
The State Department takes this information into account, also analyzing factors such as political instability, natural disasters, and the threat of terrorism or violent crime. “[Level 4] is the highest level of counseling due to the increased likelihood of life-threatening risks, “the Department explains. In the context of COVID-19, Americans are being asked to avoid traveling to these places because of increasing infection rates and COVID-19 variants such as Omicron.
Which countries are at level 4?
Many popular European destinations have recently been designated Level 4 as the region fights another wave of COVID-19, which has led to confinements in Austria and Slovakia and the cancellation of Christmas markets to suitable travel sites. for winter like Germany. Some Caribbean destinations are also on higher alert, such as Barbados and Belize, where cases are on the rise. South Africa and neighboring countries are also here, just days after South Africa alerted the world to the emergence of the Omicron strain.
Other Level 4 destinations include Ireland, the United Kingdom, Cuba, Denmark, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Iceland, the Czech Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, Singapore, Turkey, French Polynesia, Greece and more.
Level 3 advice
The CDC advises unvaccinated Americans to avoid non-essential travel to level 3 destinations, where the risks associated with COVID-19 remain high. Some popular designated Level 3 destinations include Mexico, Costa Rica, Italy, Canada, El Salvador, Chile, Croatia, Colombia, Egypt, Aruba, Sweden, Japan, Sweden, Cyprus, Australia, Brazil, Israel, Thailand, Panama, Portugal and Spain. and, more recently, France, Panama, the Bahamas, South Korea, and New Zealand. Fiji, which today has opened its borders to American tourists, is also at level 3.
Level 2 advice
Level 2 sites are considered “moderate COVID-19” destinations by the CDC. When traveling to these places people are asked to “practice improved precautions”. The CDC also urges unvaccinated people who are at higher risk for COVID-19 serious illness to avoid non-essential travel to level 2 destinations. Some countries currently at level 2 include Peru, Rwanda, India, Kenya, Argentina and Morocco.
Level 1 advice
Level 1 destinations are considered “low risk” countries. The State Department is asking people traveling to these places “to take the usual precautions.” Given the scale of the pandemic, not many countries are considered low risk. Some Level 1 countries include Paraguay, Zambia, Morocco, Djibouti, Senegal and the British Virgin Islands, which recently revised their entry requirements to make it easier for fully vaccinated travelers to visit the islands.
Do I have to cancel my trip to a level 4 country?
The answer is up to you. Travel notices are guidelines, not rules. You can still travel to these places, but if you decide to go to a country that the government advises you to avoid, you do so at your own risk. In some extreme cases — that is, countries where there are civil unrest, widespread violence, and political instability — the Department warns that some consular services may not be available and advises travelers to “always have a contingency plan for emergency situations.” ’emergency’.
If I travel, do I have to quarantine?
It depends on your destination. These travel notices and travel health notices are established by the U.S. government and the CDC, not the governments of individual countries. For example, Ireland is at level 4, but the Irish government allows Americans to travel there.
Will my travel insurance cover me in a level 4 country?
How often do these warnings change?
The State Department confirms that it reviews and updates travel alerts “as needed, based on safety and security information.”
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Anyone considering going abroad should read the entire travel notice for their destination at Travel.State.gov; in addition to border restrictions and destination entry requirements, and keeping abreast of local public health guidelines.
This article was first published on August 6, 2020 and was updated on December 1, 2021
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