In what has become a sad Monday ritual, yesterday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) upgraded three more countries to a Level 4 travel health notice, reflecting the continued worldwide spread of Covid-19.
Italy, Greenland and the island of Mauritius are the latest destinations to receive a Level 4 designation, the highest of four risk categories. A Level 4 travel health notice signifies that a country is reporting more than 500 new Covid-19 infections per 28 days per 100,000 people. That level of infection is deemed to present a “very high” Covid-19 risk and Americans are warned to “avoid travel,” per CDC guidance.
Last week, the CDC put France, Portugal and five other destinations on Level 4.
As of today, 84 countries around the world are at Level 4 on the CDC’s Covid-19 risk map. It’s worth noting that the United States also meets the criteria for a Level 4 travel health notice, bringing the true tally to 85 countries with an “avoid travel” label.
The United States has been shaded dark red on the CDC’s world map for much of the pandemic. The U.S. is recording 36 new daily cases per 100,000 over a rolling seven-day average, according to the Covid-19 tracker from the Brown School of Public Health. That translates to around 1,008 new daily cases per 28 days per 100,000 people, which is twice the CDC’s threshold for Level 4 travel health notice.
The Italian government has extended the Covid-19 state of emergency until December 31, 2021, and recently issued more restrictive travel rules through decree (the third of the pandemic) that remains in effect through January 15, 2022. The United States is on Italy’s “D List,” which means travelers must show proof of vaccination within the past nine months or proof of recovery of Covid. Most Italian attractions and services, including museums, indoor dining, theaters and entertainment venues, require proof of vaccination status. Those who do not present the correct proof must quarantine for five days.
Earlier this month, the U.S. tightened its own testing requirements for international travelers arriving in the country, including returning Americans. All international arrivals, vaccinated and unvaccinated, need to provide a negative test for Covid-19 no more than one day before boarding their flight.
The latest weekly epidemiological update from the World Health Organization (WHO) reported just over 4 million new cases around the world, which is roughly on par with the previous week.
Covid-19 cases finally plateaued in the European region, where they had been on the rise since early October. Last week saw roughly the same number of new Covid cases as compared to the previous week, with a huge drop in the number of European countries reporting a double-digit increase in new weekly cases. While Germany and the United Kingdom continued to report the highest numbers of new cases, they remained flat over the previous week. In contrast, France reported the third highest number of new cases, up 49% from the previous week.