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5 nations added to CDC list to 'avoid travel' due to COVID-19

The CDC is also recommending Americans get vaccinated before visiting two U.S. territories.

Five countries have been added to a growing list that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Americans should avoid traveling to due to COVID-19 even as the disease also tests hospital and ICU capacities in the U.S. The CDC is also recommending people get vaccinated before traveling to the American territories of Guam and Puerto Rico.

These destinations have been added to the CDC's Level 4 (Very High) risk level:

  • Azerbaijan
  • Estonia
  • Guam
  • North Macedonia
  • Puerto Rico
  • Saint Lucia
  • Switzerland

For those who must travel to these destinations, the CDC advises they first be fully vaccinated. The CDC is additionally suggesting Americans avoid travel to the five foreign nations on the list altogether.

On the alerts for these places, the CDC warns travelers should still wear a mask and stay six feet apart from others if traveling there. For the five non-U.S. destinations, the CDC adds that "even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants" -- an issue the U.S., itself, is dealing with.

The U.S. is averaging more than 155,000 new coronavirus cases and 1,200 deaths per day, and several U.S. states have more COVID-19 patients in the hospital now than at any other time during the pandemic.

The European Union recommended Monday that its 27 nations reinstate restrictions on tourists from the U.S. because of rising coronavirus infections there, but member countries will keep the option of allowing fully vaccinated U.S. travelers in. 

The decision by the European Council to remove the U.S. from a safe list of countries for nonessential travel reverses the advice that it gave in June, when the bloc recommended lifting restrictions on all U.S. travelers before the summer tourism season.

The EU’s decision reflects growing anxiety that the rampant spread of the virus in the U.S. could jump to Europe at a time when Americans are allowed to travel to the continent.

American tourists should expect a mishmash of travel rules across the continent since the EU has no unified COVID-19 tourism policy and national EU governments have the authority to decide whether or how they keep their borders open during the pandemic.

The United States has yet to reopen its own borders to EU tourists, despite calls from the bloc to do so.

Dozens of other nations were already on the list that Americans are urged to avoid, which can be seen on the CDC website.