CDC: South Africa and 3 other places now at ‘high’ risk for Covid-19

(CNN) — The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has placed a popular African destination in its “high” Covid-19 risk category for travelers.

South Africa – renowned for its stunning vistas, wildlife, vineyards and culture – is now at Level 3. In total, the CDC moved four destinations to the “high” risk column on Monday:

Antigua and Barbuda
• Lesotho
• South Africa
• Taiwan

The CDC recently overhauled its scoring system to assess the Covid-19 risk for travellers.

The Level 3 “high” risk category is now the top tier in terms of risk level. Level 2 is considered “moderate” risk and level 1 is “low” risk.

Level 4, previously the highest risk category, is now reserved only for special circumstances, such as an extremely high number of cases, the emergence of a new variant of concern or the collapse of healthcare infrastructures. health. Under the new system, no destinations have been placed at Tier 4 so far.

Lesotho, a landlocked mountainous country in South Africa, moved from Tier 1 on Monday. All other places were level 2.

Overall, the last four weeks of advisory have been little marked by the dramatic status changes that characterized last winter and early spring during the initial push of the Omicron variant.

Level 3

The Paris skyline still inspires, but France remains in the CDC’s “high” risk category.

Ekaterina Belova/Adobe Stock

In the CDC’s new system, the “Tier 3: High Covid-19” category applies to countries that have recorded more than 100 cases per 100,000 population in the past 28 days.

Much of Europe has stubbornly lodged itself there, with the summer travel season drawing ever closer. As of May 16, the following popular European destinations were among those remaining at Tier 3:

• France
• Germany
• Greece
• Ireland
• Italy
• The Netherlands
• Portugal
• Spain
• UK

It’s not just European favorites that end up in Tier 3. Several notable destinations around the world fall into the high-risk category, including the following:

• Brazil
• Canada
•Costa Rica
• Malaysia
• South Korea
• Thailand

There were around 110 Tier 3 destinations on May 16, a slight increase from May 9. Tier 3 locations now make up nearly half of the approximately 235 locations monitored by the CDC.

The CDC advises that you get up to date with your Covid-19 vaccines before traveling to a Tier 3 destination. “up to date” means that you have received not only the initial full vaccinations, but also all the boosters for which you are eligible.

Level 2

Happy Bay is in the British Overseas Territory of Anguilla.  The Caribbean island is now at

Happy Bay is in the British Overseas Territory of Anguilla. The Caribbean island is now at the “moderate” risk level for Covid-19, according to the CDC.

Nikolai/Adobe Stock

Destinations with the designation “Level 2: Moderate Covid-19” have reported 50 to 100 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 population in the past 28 days. Only two places were moved to this level on Monday:

• Anguilla
• Lebanon

That was good news for the Caribbean island and Middle East getaway, which was in Tier 3. Fewer than 20 spots were listed in Tier 2 on Monday.

In his wider travel advicethe CDC has recommended avoiding all international travel until you are fully immunized.
If you are concerned about a travel-specific health situation not related to Covid-19, Check here.

Level 1

The Treasury is seen through a cave opening at Petra in Jordan.  The Arab nation is now at CDC Level 1.

The Treasury is seen through a cave opening at Petra in Jordan. The Arab nation is now at CDC Level 1.

Burt Johnson/Adobe Stock

To be at “Level 1: Covid-19 low”, a destination must have registered 49 new cases or less per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 28 days. Four destinations were added to the category on May 16:

• Jordan
• Mongolia
• Sri Lanka
• Zimbabwe

All four nations were in Tier 2 last week.

This level is dominated by destinations in Africa, including Ghana, Kenya and Rwanda. Level 1 had just over 50 entries on Monday.


Finally, there are destinations that the CDC has deemed “unknown” risk due to a lack of information. Usually, but not always, these are small, remote places or places where war or unrest is going on. There was only one addition to this category on Monday: French Polynesiawhich was previously at level 3.

The CDC advises against travel to these places precisely because the risks are unknown. Others in this category include the Azores, Cambodia, Macao and Tanzania.

Medical expert weighs in on risk levels

Transmission rates are just a “benchmark” for travelers’ personal risk calculations, according to CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen.

We have entered “a phase of the pandemic where people have to make their own decisions based on their medical situation as well as their risk tolerance when it comes to contracting Covid-19,” said Wen, who is an emergency physician and professor. in Health Policy and Management at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.

There are other factors to weigh in addition to transmission rates, according to Wen.

“Another is what precautions are needed and followed where you are going, and then the third is what you plan to do once you get there.

“Are you planning on visiting a lot of attractions and going to indoor bars? It’s very different from going somewhere where you plan to lay on the beach all day and not interact with anyone outside. “other. It’s very different. It’s 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, Wen said.

And it’s also important to think about what you would do if you became positive outside of your home. Where will you be staying and how easy will it be to take a test to return home?

Top image: South Africa is renowned for its stunning landscapes such as the Blyde River Canyon. (Lkpro/Adobe Stock)

Comments are closed.