The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has raised the travel advisory level for France, Portugal, and five other countries to “Level 4: Very High Level of COVID-19″—its highest classification for COVID-19 risk—advising Americans to avoid travel to these destinations.
Destinations the CDC has marked Level 4 are France, Portugal, Andorra, and Liechtenstein in Europe, Cyprus and Jordan in the Middle East, and Tanzania in East Africa. Countries in this category have had more than 500 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in the past 28 days.
The European and Middle Eastern countries were previously on the CDC’s Level 3, while Tanzania was rated “unknown.”
The CDC said in its Level 4 advisory that if people must travel to these destinations, to make sure they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
“Do not travel internationally until you are fully vaccinated. If you are not fully vaccinated, there are additional recommendations to follow before, during, and after travel,” the agency said.
More than 80 countries are listed on the CDC’s Level 4 risk category for COVID-19 as of Dec. 6.
In a broader guidance on Dec. 2, the CDC advised people to refrain from traveling internationally until they are fully vaccinated.
“Fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to get and spread COVID-19,” the CDC said in its advisory. “However, international travel poses additional risks, and even fully vaccinated travelers might be at increased risk for getting and possibly spreading some COVID-19 variants.”
Separately, the CDC on Dec. 3 unveiled rules requiring all travelers seeking to enter the United States to test negative for COVID-19 within one day of departure, starting Dec. 6. People who recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days and have documents to prove that can also enter the country, according to the CDC testing order.
The CDC actions come amid a newly detected COVID-19 variant of concern called Omicron, which was reported by South Africa to the World Health Organization in late November. The new variant has sparked a flurry of travel restrictions as well as local restrictions by dozens of countries seeking to curb its spread to buy time for scientists to investigate it.