The CDC's 'Level 4' Travel Advisory List Now Includes 140 Countries

More than half of the world's destinations are on the CDC's list

Young man wearing protective face mask waiting for airplane
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has moved even more countries to its "very high risk" travel list. Since Feb. 22, the organization has added four more countries to its "Level 4" advisory—Bhutan, Brunei, Iran, and Malaysia—bringing the total number of countries on the list to 140, more than half of the world's destinations.

The CDC changed its three-level advisory system to a four-level system in November 2020. According to the system, a "Level 1" advisory signifies a low level of COVID-19, and the CDC recommends that all travelers to these locations be vaccinated; "Level 2" indicates a moderate level of COVID-19, and the CDC warns unvaccinated travelers to avoid nonessential trips to these destinations; "Level 3" indicates a high level of COVID-19 and the CDC recommends unvaccinated travelers avoid travel under any circumstance, and finally, "Level 4" indicates a very high level of COVID-19 and the CDC recommends that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, should avoid travel to any country under this advisory. To receive a "Level 4" advisory, a country must have more than 500 new cases per 100,000 residents over the past 28 days.

The advisory lists are updated weekly, and the agency notes on its website, "additional information such as new variants of concern, vaccination rates, hospitalizations, and imported case counts may be considered when determining a Travel Health Notice level."

The United States Department of State has followed suit with the CDC; it moved the same countries—except Brunei—onto its "Level 4" advisory list on Feb. 22.

Despite the high-level advisories, many countries are still planning to open their borders and take travelers in. Thailand is set to reopen its borders to vaccinated tourists on March 15.

Article Sources
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  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "COVID-19 Travel Recommendations." Accessed February 24, 2022.

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "How CDC Determines the Level for COVID-19 Travel Health Notices." Accessed February 9, 2022.

  3. Ministry of Culture, Sports & Tourism. "MOCST Proposed the Prime Minister to Full Reopen Tourism From March 15, Applying the Same Visa Policy As Before the Pandemic." February 16, 2022.