The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added three nations to its highest-risk category for travel on Monday, including tourist favorite Italy.
In its weekly update of Covid-19 travel advisories, the CDC also added giant, frigid Greenland and the tiny, tropical East African island nation of Mauritius to its “Level 4: Covid-19 Very High” category.
Typically, the CDC places a destination at Level 4 when more than 500 cases per 100,000 residents are registered in the past 28 days. All three nations moved up from Level 3.
Last week, the CDC put Italy’s neighbor, France, at Level 4 — along with six other destinations. France remains at Level 4 this week. European surge and Omicron
Italy’s move to Level 4 comes as Europe continues to grapple with another surge in Covid-19 cases.
The Italian government approved an extension of a state of emergency in the country until March 31, according to a news release from the government Tuesday.
The state of emergency gives the government led by Prime Minister Mario Draghi the power to implement measures aiming at containing the coronavirus, including limiting some activity only to those fully vaccinated. Italy will also impose a five-day quarantine for unvaccinated travelers entering the country, including those coming from the European Union. Those that are vaccinated will also need to provide a negative test result. Those new measures are set to be implemented from December 16 to January 31.
The United Kingdom is facing a “tidal wave” of infections from the new Omicron coronavirus variant, ministers have warned, noting rapid transmission rates in London and across the country. And Germany is also grappling with its fourth wave on the pandemic and a sharp rise in deaths. Both of those nations are also on the CDC’s Level 4 list.
Some Christmas markets in Europe are still planning to operate, but others, including the Munich market, have been canceled.
Meanwhile, the entire world continues to monitor Omicron.
First announced by South African health authorities in late November, the variant has prompted various travel bans on nations in southern Africa. The CDC moved seven southern African nations to Level 4 on November 27 specifically because of Omicron (an eighth nation, Botswana, was already at Level 4). All of those nations remained at Level 4 on Monday.
And the United States implemented tighter travel rules on December 6 because of concern about the variant.
Other nations on Level 4
While Europe is being hard hit, it isn’t the only region with popular tourist destinations on Level 4. Among the other places also considered at “very high” risk for travel are:
• Cayman Islands
• Seychelles Islands
In all, more than 80 countries were rated Level 4 as of December 13.