CDC Moves More European Countries to Highest Level of COVID-19 Risk for Travel

By Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Reporter
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist and currently a news reporter at The Epoch Times. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.
November 10, 2021 Updated: November 10, 2021

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week added two European countries to its list of “very high” risk travel destinations, as the United States on Monday moved to reopen its borders to vaccinated international travelers.

The Netherlands and Luxembourg were among the northwestern European countries to be added to the list, while the Cayman Islands and the Faroe Islands were also listed as the latest destinations with “Level 4: Very High” warnings, with the federal agency urging individuals to “avoid travel” to the regions.

A country placed on the CDC’s Level 4 travel health list means that it is reporting more than 500 new COVID-19 infections per 28 days per 100,000 people.

Those who do travel to countries on the CDC’s Level 4 category should be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, it advises on its website.

On Thursday, Hans Kluge, a World Health Organization (WHO) regional director, said that every country in Europe and Central Asia is “facing a real threat of COVID-19 resurgence or already fighting it.”

“The current pace of transmission across the 53 countries of the European Region is of grave concern,” Kluge added.

Last week, Belgium, Russia, Slovakia, and Burkina Faso were added to the CDC’s Level 4 category. As of Nov. 8, there were 80 countries on the CDC’s Level 4 list, including the United Kingdom, Greece, Switzerland, Austria, Turkey, and the Maldives.

Epoch Times Photo
World Health Organization (WHO) European director Hans Kluge speaks at a press conference on COVID-19 in Copenhagen, Denmark, on March 27, 2020. (Ida Guldbaek Arentsen/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP/Getty Images)

Health experts are optimistic that many nations have put the worst of the pandemic due to COVID-19 vaccines and natural exposure to the CCP virus, although they caution that colder weather and upcoming holiday gatherings could increase cases.

“We think between now and the end of 2022, this is the point where we get control over this virus … where we can significantly reduce severe disease and death,” Maria Van Kerkhove, an epidemiologist and COVID-19 technical lead at the WHO told Reuters on Nov. 3.

Meanwhile, the United States on Monday reopened to international travel, welcoming vaccinated Europeans and others who had been unable to enter the country for nearly two years due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The U.S. travel ban, first implemented by former President Donald Trump, and later kept in place and expanded by President Joe Biden, blocked travelers from 33 countries, including much of Europe, the United Kingdom, and China.

The United States is now accepting international travelers who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with any of the vaccines approved for emergency use by the WHO, not just those in use in the United States.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist and currently a news reporter at The Epoch Times. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.