(CNN) — In its first update of travel advisories for 2022, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has added just one new destination — a popular Caribbean winter getaway — to its highest-risk category.
The CDC advises travelers to avoid Aruba, a Dutch island just off the coast of South America, as it now resides at Level 4 with a “very high level” of Covid-19 risk.
The CDC places a destination at Level 4 when more than 500 cases per 100,000 residents are registered in the past 28 days.
Europe’s continuing troubles
Europe’s Covid-19 travel situation saw just a little improvement this week. The CDC moved only two destinations on that continent — neither heavy-hitters — to a lower level (see Level 3 below).
Some of its biggest travel names remain firmly lodged at the CDC’s Level 4 for now:
• United Kingdom
In fact, the United Kingdom has been at Level 4 since July 19.
However, Europe isn’t the only continent with popular tourist destinations on Level 4. Among the other places also considered at “very high” risk for travel are:
• South Africa
The Norwegian Gem, owned by Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, is moored at PortMiami in August 2021.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Level 3 additions
A view of Peleș Castle in Sinaia, Romania. This Eastern European nation was moved down to Level 3 on Monday.
Victor Moussa/Adobe Stock
The Level 3 category — which applies to destinations that have had between 100 and 500 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days — saw eight new additions on Tuesday from a variety of regions:
• The Bahamas
• Sint Maarten
The Level 3 designation was actually good news for Azerbaijan, Moldova, Mongolia and Romania, which had previously been at Level 4. In fact, Mongolia had been there since May 19, according to the CDC.
It was a move in the wrong direction for the Bahamas and Sint Maarten, which had been at Level 2, and Kenya, which had been at an even lower (and safer) Level 1.
Last week, the isolated South American nation of Suriname had been listed as “Unknown,” meaning the CDC didn’t have enough data to make a designation.
Destinations carrying the “Level 2: Covid-19 Moderate” designation have seen 50 to 99 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days. That level saw four new additions Tuesday, three of them in Africa:
• Costa Rica
Costa Rica, a Central American favorite loved for its natural beauty and wildlife, moved down from Level 3.
The move was not good for Nigeria and Zambia, which had been at Level 1.
Madagascar, the large island nation off Africa’s eastern coast in the Indian Ocean, had previously been ranked “Unknown.”
In the category of “Level 1: Covid-19 Low” destinations, fewer than 50 new cases per 100,000 residents have been logged over the past 28 days. This level had two new entries:
• The Philippines
Niger, a landlocked nation in West Africa perhaps best known for its historical Saharan caravan cities, saw a big drop. It had been at Level 4.
The Philippines, renowned for its beaches, cuisine and friendly people, dropped from Level 2.
Finally, there are destinations, as cited above, for which the CDC has an “unknown” risk because of a lack of information. Usually, but not always, these are small, remote places.
But on Tuesday, the CDC added the modern city-state of Singapore, an international crossroads, to this category. It had previously been at Level 4.
The CDC cautions even fully vaccinated travelers about venturing to destinations with no reliable statistics about the current Covid-19 situation.