CDC issues more travel warnings, adds Hong Kong, New Zealand, Thailand and Vietnam

Mar 7, 2022

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has added more destinations to its ever-growing list of “Level 4” warnings — its highest-risk category for COVID-19.

Last week, Vietnam was added to the Level 4 risk list, just weeks before the country reopens to foreign travelers on March 15.

And today, three more destinations were added: New Zealand, Thailand and Hong Kong. (Note, however, that mainland China still maintains a “Level 1: Low level of COVID-19″ status, despite Hong Kong’s elevated warning.)

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The CDC warning comes right after New Zealand announced the removal of self-isolation requirements for visitors, as well as a “reconnecting” plan that will allow travelers from “visa waiver” countries, including the U.S. and Canada, to visit starting in July.

The CDC’s Level 4 classification specifies: “Avoid travel to these destinations. If you must travel to these destinations, make sure you are fully vaccinated before travel.”

According to the official CDC website, countries and territories earn the Level 4 classification when 500 or more new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people over the past 28 days are reported.

The CDC’s four levels of travel recommendations start at “low” risk and rise to “moderate,” “high” and its strongest warning, “very high.” The ratings are designed to help Americans navigate travel during the pandemic as case levels remain in flux from nation to nation. The public health agency recommends all travelers be fully vaccinated before visiting any destination.

With these latest updates, the list of Level 4 warnings now includes 135 destinations, more than half of the countries in the world, and more than in all the other CDC categories combined.

Related: More than half the world’s countries on CDC’s ‘Do Not Travel’ list

The Level 4 list has swelled in the past few months due to the expanding reach of the omicron variant — just 80 countries were marked as Level 4 in early January.

The CDC updates its warning lists every Monday.

Featured photo of the view from Victoria Peak in Hong Kong in October 2019 by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy.  

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