The CDC has added three new countries to its highest COVID-19 travel warning level. The health agency just released its latest travel guidance, and has moved Italy, Greenland and Mauritius to the “Very High” Level 4 category, amid increased concerns worldwide over the developing Omicron variant.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends Americans avoid travel to any destination with Level 4 status, and that those who must travel be fully vaccinated beforehand. The CDC still currently advises unvaccinated Americans to avoid any international travel at the moment.
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Destinations are labeled as Level 4 if there are 500 or more new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents within a 28-day time period. Italy, Greenland and Mauritius were all previously classified within Level 3 status, which the CDC defines as between 100 and 500 cases per 100,000 residents over 28 days.
The CDC’s decision to elevate Italy to Level 4 status comes as the country’s government announced its decision to extend state of emergency powers through March 31. Italy, which was hit hard by the first wave of COVID-19, is now facing another rise in cases as the holiday season nears, as is much of Europe.
Some European countries have instituted new COVID-19 restrictions once again; France, which also remains at Level 4 status after the CDC elevated it last week, recently closed all nightclubs for the next month. The country is also requiring all foreign visitors from outside the E.U. to provide a negative COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours of arrival, as well as proof of full vaccination status.
The United States has also issued new COVID-19 travel regulations, and is requiring international travelers to provide a negative COVID-19 test taken within a one-day time period of boarding their flight. At the same time, certain states are reimposing mask mandates; New York recently instituted a new indoor mask requirement in any business where proof of vaccination isn’t required.