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CDC and State Department issue warning to "avoid travel" to Italy and several other countries

Dec. 19, 2021
3 min read
Christmas Tree In St. Peter's Square With The Nativity Scene
CDC and State Department issue warning to "avoid travel" to Italy and several other countries
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Add Italy to the countries feeling the impact of the latest surge of coronavirus. The popular European destination joined several countries in being added to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's highest-risk category for travel, in the week leading up to Christmas.

Italy, Greenland and the East African tropical island country Mauritius were placed in the "Level 4: COVID-19 Very High" category, the CDC's highest classification for countries at risk for COVID-19. The agency normally assigns countries the Level 4 categorization when they register more than 500 positive cases per 100,000 residents in the previous 28 days.

There are now more than 80 countries with the highest warning level.

According to the latest information from the World Health Organization (WHO), Italy recorded more than 26,000 new COVID- cases in the past 24 hours. That's the second consecutive day the country has seen over 25,000 new cases.

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The U.S. State Department, meantime issued a "Level 4: Do Not Travel" warning for Italy as well.

Italy CDC warning

The CDC included the following information on its official website with its Level 4 classification for Italy:

  • Avoid travel to Italy.
  • If you must travel to Italy, make sure you are fully vaccinated before traveling.
  • Because of the current situation in Italy, even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants.
  • Travelers should follow recommendations or requirements in Italy, including wearing a mask and staying 6 feet apart from others.

The agency also warns not to travel overseas unless you are fully vaccinated. If you are not fully vaccinated, there are additional recommendations to follow before, during, and after travel.

Unvaccinated tourists arriving in Italy will have to go into a five-day quarantine. That requirement also goes for those travelers coming from the European Union. Fully vaccinated visitors will not have to quarantine but will need to provide a negative test result. These new measures are in place from now until January 31.

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Italy's soaring case count comes as Europe is under siege from the highly-transmissible omicron variant. Other countries that have recently been designated as Level 4 "very high" risk countries include:

  • France
  • Cyprus
  • Jordan
  • Andorra
  • Liechtenstein
  • Portugal
  • Niger
  • Poland
  • Trinidad and Tobago

US State Department warning

The U.S. State Department ranks travel risk with its own proprietary rankings. In the last week it has issued Level 4 Do Not Travel warnings for Italy and Mauritius, as well as Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Sudan.

The State Department added Qatar as a "Level 3: Reconsider Travel" on Dec. 16.

Related: CDC adds several countries to its ‘avoid travel’ list, including Aruba, France, Israel and Thailand

From the official State Department website:

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for Italy due to COVID-19, indicating a very high level of COVID-19 in the country. There are restrictions in place affecting U.S. citizen entry into Italy. Your risk of contracting COVID-19 and developing severe symptoms may be lower if you are fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine. Before planning any international travel, please review the CDC’s specific recommendations for fully vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers."

This color-coded map identifies the countries the State Department views as posing a high risk for travelers.

Featured image by NurPhoto via Getty Images
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