These are the latest CDC travel advisories for 2021
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While the U.S. State Department releases a list of travel advisories for everything related to potential safety while abroad, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) releases its own list of travel health notices specific to health-related concerns such as disease outbreaks and natural disasters.
With COVID-19 cases declining around the world but new variants in the mix that could threaten that trend, as is happening in the U.S., advisories and recommendations are constantly changing. We’ve started a list of these CDC-specific advisories to help you keep up. You can also find the full list on the CDC website.
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The CDC uses three levels of warning notices for general travel health advisories:
- Warning Level 3 (Red) — Avoid nonessential travel
- Alert Level 2 (Yellow) — Practice enhanced precautions
- Watch Level 1 (Green) — Practice usual precautions
Red alerts are obviously the areas with the highest risk. Yellow alerts will include additional precautions that should be taken and/or defines a specific at-risk population. Green alerts may include a list of recommended vaccines or general precautionary advice.
But the CDC also has a different database specific to COVID-19 levels, broken down into five categories:
- Level 4: Very high level of COVID-19
- Level 3: High level of COVID-19
- Level 2: Moderate level of COVID-19
- Level 1: Low level of COVID-19
- Level: Unknown
This ranking is determined based on the number of cumulative new cases per 100,000 people over the past 28 days and new case trajectory (if the new cases rate going up, down or remaining stable). Level 4 notices indicate an area with at least 100 new cases per 100,000 people. You can read more about how each level is defined on the CDC website.
Americans experiencing COVID-19 related emergencies overseas should contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate, or call the State Department assistance call center:
- From the U.S. & Canada – 1-888-407-4747
- From Overseas – +1 202-501-4444
- Enroll in STEP — the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program
COVID-19 travel health notices
Here is a list of the current health notices for COVID-19, broken down by level.
Level 4: COVID-19 very high
The CDC recommends avoiding all travel to the following areas:
- British Virgin Islands
- Burma (Myanmar)
- Central African Republic
- Costa Rica
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- French Guiana
- Isle of Man
- The Netherlands
- Papa New Guinea
- Saint Barthelemy
- Saint Martin
- Saudi Arabia
- South Africa
- South Sudan
- Trinidad and Tobago
- U.S. Virgin Islands
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
Level 3: COVID-19 high
The CDC recommends avoiding all nonessential travel to the following areas:
- Cape Verde
- Dominican Republic
- Easter Island
- Faroe Islands
- French Polynesia
- The Gambia
- Puerto Rico
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- Sint Maarten
- Sri Lanka
- Cruise ship travel
Level 2: COVID-19 moderate
The CDC recommends all at-risk travelers avoid nonessential travel to the following areas:
- Czech Republic
- El Salvador
- Madeira Islands
- Sierra Leone
- South Korea
- Republic of the Congo
Level 1: COVID-19 low
The CDC recommends taking steps before, during and after travel to keep yourself and others from getting COVID-19 when you travel to the following areas:
- American Samoa
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Burkina Faso
- Cayman Islands
- Cote d’Ivoire
- Equatorial Guinea
- Falkland Islands
- Hong Kong
- New Caledonia
- New Zealand
- North Macedonia
- Northern Mariana
- Saint Pierre and Miquelon
- Sint Eustatius
- Turks and Caicos
Any countries not listed above are currently Level Unknown.
Non-COVID-19 travel health notices
There are a handful of Warning Level 3 and Alert Level 2 notices not related to COVID-19 that the CDC has released. You can see the full list (including Watch Level 1) on the CDC website.
Warning Level 3
The CDC recommends avoiding all nonessential travel to the following areas:
- Democratic Republic of the Congo – Due to a volcanic eruption in the North Kivu Province travelers are advised to avoid the region.
- St. Vincent & the Grenadines – Citing another active volcano, the CDC recommends avoiding nonessential travel to the island.
- Venezuela – The CDC lists a health infrastructure breakdown in Venezuela, with the country experiencing outbreaks of infectious diseases. Adequate healthcare is not currently available in most of the country.
Alert Level 2
The CDC recommends enhanced precautions for the following areas:
- Nigeria – There is an outbreak of yellow fever in Nigeria, and the CDC recommends getting vaccinated at least 10 days before travel and taking extra steps to prevent mosquito bites.
- Hait – Due to an increased level in rabies in dogs, travelers should not touch dogs or cats, and seek treatment for any bites or scratches.
- Africa – The CDC reports multiple polio outbreaks in several countries in Africa, recommending travelers be vaccinated fully before traveling.
- Asia – The CDC reports multiple polio outbreaks in several countries in Africa, recommending travelers be vaccinated fully before traveling.
Keep in mind that many countries have issued their own travel restrictions or additional entry requirements for U.S. travelers entering foreign nations. Before you travel, be sure to check the requirements from the destinations you plan to visit, in order to ensure you have all the documents and any testing you need. Otherwise, you may not be allowed to travel or worse yet, will be sent home upon arrival.
Featured image by Dzianis_Rakhuba/Shutterstock.
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