Federal health officials are advising U.S. travelers to avoid New Zealand, Thailand and Hong Kong due to COVID-19.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention moved the three destinations to its level 4 COVID-19 risk category Monday due to their “very high” COVID-19 levels. The CDC advises all travelers, regardless of vaccination status, to avoid travel to level 4 destinations.
“If you must travel to these destinations, make sure you are fully vaccinated before travel,” the federal agency says on its website.
New Zealand and Thailand have eased entry requirements in recent weeks, while Hong Kong prohibits entry from outside Greater China among nonresidents.
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The three join more than 130 other destinations on the CDC’s list of areas with “very high” rates of COVID-19.
Larger countries are considered to have very high COVID-19 levels when they report more than 500 new cases per 100,000 people over the past 28 days. Destinations with a population of 100,000 or fewer must report more than 500 cumulative new cases over the past 28 days.
Other changes to the CDC’s travel guidance on Monday include:
- Anguilla, Cape Verde, Fiji, Mexico, the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates moved from level 4 to level 3. The CDC says unvaccinated travelers should avoid nonessential travel to these areas.
- Angola, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea, the Gambia, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia and Senegal moved from level 3 to level 2. The CDC says unvaccinated travelers who are at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should avoid nonessential travel to these destinations.
- Niger moved from level 4 to level 1. The CDC says travelers should make sure they are fully vaccinated before traveling to level 1 destinations.
- The Republic of the Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Lesotho, Rwanda, Togo and Uganda moved from level 2 to level 1.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Bailey Schulz on Twitter: @bailey_schulz.