(CNN) – A popular destination in the Middle East and a small Dutch Caribbean island was added to the CDC’s “high risk” category of travel on Monday.
Jordan and Saint Eustatius were the only two additions to Level 3, the “high” risk category.
Level 3 sites account for more than half of the approximately 235 places the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention monitors.
This designation applies to places with more than 100 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days. Level 2 and Level 1 are considered “medium” and “low” risk, respectively.
To summarize, these two destinations were added to Level 3 on August 8:
• Saint Eustatius
Level 4, previously the highest risk category, is now reserved only for special circumstances, such as an extremely high case number, the emergence of a new worrying variable or the collapse of healthcare infrastructure. Under the new system, no destination has been placed at level 4 yet.
A view of the volcanic island of Saint Eustatius in the Caribbean Sea from Saint Kitts. Sint Eustatius is now at level 3, a “high” risk for Covid.
182485895 / eqroy – stock.adobe.com
More about level 3
Much of Europe has been stubbornly housed in level 3 for several months with the summer travel season now in the traditionally busy month of August. The following popular European destinations were among those that remained at Level 3 as of August 8:
• United kingdom
These are not the only notable locations that find themselves in level 3. Many other destinations around the world are among those in the “high” risk category, including the following:
• Costa Rica
• South Korea
Senegal, with the image of the Ngor region in Dakar, moved to Level 2 on Monday.
Destinations rated “Level 2: Moderate Covid-19” have reported 50 to 100 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days. The CDC identified three new Level 2 places on Monday:
The move was bad news for all three locations, which were all previously listed as Level 1. There are 20 places listed as Level 2 this week.
To be listed as ‘Level 1: Covid-19 Low’, a destination must have had 49 or fewer new cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days. Two places were added to the category on August 8:
Both destinations have moved to a lower risk level. Suriname was previously listed at level 3, and Zimbabwe was previously listed at level 2.
There are about 25 ranks in the “low” risk category this week. Among the most popular places in the “low” risk category this week are Egypt and Tanzania.
Finally, there are destinations that the CDC has deemed to have “unknown” risks due to a lack of information. Usually, but not always, these are small, remote places or places with constant wars or turmoil.
Only one destination added this week: Malawi.
The CDC advises against traveling to these places specifically because the risks are unknown. Other destinations in this category that usually attract more tourist interest include the Azores, Hungary, and the Maldives.
There are about 65 places listed as “unknown” this week, more than a quarter of the places monitored.
Medical expert weighs in risk levels
Commuting rates are just “one guide” to travelers’ personal risk calculations, according to CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen.
We have moved to “a stage in the pandemic where people need to make their own decisions based on their medical conditions as well as their own risk tolerance when it comes to contracting Covid-19,” said Wayne, an emergency physician and university professor. Health Policy and Management at The George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.
Wen said there are other factors that should be weighed in addition to transmission rates.
“Another is what precautions are required and which are followed where you are going, and the third is what you plan to do once you get there,” she said.
“Do you plan to visit a lot of attractions and go to indoor bars? This is very different from going somewhere where you plan to lie on the beach all day and not interact with anyone else. This is completely different. These are very different levels of risk.”
Wen said vaccination is the most important safety factor for travel, as unvaccinated travelers are more likely to get sick and pass Covid-19 to others.
It’s also important to think about what you’ll do if you end up testing positive away from home.
Top of the photo: Al-Khazneh Temple in the ancient city of Petra in Jordan. (Ali Baliksi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
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