Kenya moves to CDC low risk category for Covid-19

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(CNN) – For the second week in a row, no destinations were added to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “high risk” category for travel. Several destinations were moved up a risk level, including Kenya, which is now in the “low” risk category.

Kenya was previously listed as Tier 2, along with the West African nation of Togo, which also dropped to the Tier 1, or “low-risk” category of the CDC’s regularly updated travel advisories.

The British Overseas Territory of Montserrat in the Caribbean dropped to Level 2, or “moderate” risk for Covid-19, from Level 3.

One nation, Timor-Leste in Southeast Asia, moved up a notch to level 2.

And one destination, Dutch Sint Maarten in the Caribbean fell into the “unknown” category from Level 3. Destinations move into that category when there is a lack of information.

More than half of the destinations monitored by the CDC are still listed at Level 3, the “high” risk category.

The designation applies to countries that have had more than 100 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days.

Destinations carrying the “Level 2: Moderate Covid-19” designation reported 50 to 100 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days.

To be listed as “Level 1: Low Covid-19”, a destination must have had 49 or fewer new cases per 100,000 residents over the past 28 days.

Level 4, previously the highest risk category, is now reserved only for special circumstances, such as an unusually high number of cases, the emergence of a new variant of concern or the collapse of healthcare infrastructure. The CDC advises against traveling to these destinations. Under the new system, no destination has been placed at level 4 so far.

A medical expert assesses risk levels

CDC advises travelers to be up-to-date on Covid-19 vaccinations before traveling internationally. Being “up to date” means you’ve had not only the full initial vaccinations, but also any boosters you’re eligible for.

We’re at “a stage of the pandemic where people have to make their own decisions based on their medical circumstances as well as their risk tolerance when it comes to contracting Covid-19,” according to CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen.

Vaccination is the most important safety factor for travel, said Wen, who is an emergency physician and professor of health policy and management at George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health.

“Most people who are up-to-date on their vaccinations are very protected from serious illness,” she said.

Think about what you would do if you end up testing positive outside the home, Wen advised.

“Do you have access to treatments such as antiviral pills or monoclonal antibodies? Ask your doctor before traveling if you qualify, and then know where to find these treatments when you travel abroad,” she said.

Wen also advises packing extra coronavirus tests and taking them with you on your trip.

While U.S.-bound travelers no longer have to present a negative Covid-19 test to go home from international destinations, the CDC still advises testing before boarding flights to the United States and not traveling if you are sick.
“Of course, if people have symptoms or exposure while traveling, they should be tested, and if they test positive, follow the CDC’s isolation guidelines,” Wen told CNN Travel.
If you are concerned about a specific travel health situation not related to Covid-19, check here.

Top image: Lionesses and cubs walk together near sunset in Kenya’s Masai Mara. (Vicki Jauron/Babylon and Beyond/Moment RF/Getty Images)

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