The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its travel advisories list earlier this week, and three countries, all of which are popular tourist destinations, were moved up to its Level 4: Very High Risk category: Brunei, Jamaica and Sri Lanka.
Two of those countries have decent vaccination rates while the third is struggling. As of Wednesday, Sri Lanka has at least partially vaccinated 59% of its population with 43% of those fully vaccinated. The corresponding figures for Brunei are 54% and 26% and for Jamaica are 15% and 5%.
To be placed in Level 4, a country must have had at least 500 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases for every 100,000 residents over the past four weeks.
Currently, 77 countries are in the Level 4 category, which includes Colombia, Argentina, United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Thailand. Switzerland was one of seven to be placed on it the week before while the others on that partial list were added to it prior to then.
Earlier this week, the CDC also moved five countries up to Level 3: Antigua and Barbuda, Ghana and Turks and Caicos Islands from Level 2 and Benin and Grenada from Level 1. Meanwhile, three countries were moved down to Level 3 from Level 4 at that time: Guinea-Bissau, Malta and Netherlands.
Travelers should note that although the CDC is telling them to avoid heading to those countries and that if they do so anyway, they should be fully vaccinated, they do not need to adhere to these recommendations. They simply must follow the regulations that the countries have put into place for visitors as well as ones that the United States has for anyone returning to it.
For example, Brunei is not allowing Americans to enter for tourism-related reasons anyway, but those who want to travel to Jamaica or Sri Lanka for those purposes are allowed to as long as they meet stated requirements, such as a recent negative COVID-19 test result. Meanwhile, in most cases, Americans returning to the U.S. must show a recent negative COVID-19 test result upon arrival in the country.