The CDC Adds Another Country to Its 'Avoid Travel' List

The CDC advises travelers avoid Madagascar for the time being.

cdc travel advisory update
Photo by Michail_Vorobyev/Shutterstock
Photo by Michail_Vorobyev/Shutterstock

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) continues to add countries to Level 4 of its COVID-19 travel advisory list, the strongest warning it offers. Yet, for the fourth straight week, there are positive signs out there.

Level 4, the designation where the CDC advises you don't travel to a certain country due to the potential to contract and spread COVID-19, has only gained a single country again this week. Madagascar, which reopened to American tourists in the fall of 2021, was the lone addition to the list. 

The addition of a single country is a big drop from other weeks in 2022 where as many as 22 and 15 territories were added. That's a positive sign for travelers. Moreover, there are now just 121 countries listed at Level 4. That total has dropped for four consecutive weeks now, from 139 to 135 to 126, and now 121.

At the other end of the travel advisories, the CDC added six more countries to Level 1, where it believes COVID-19 levels are "low."  The addition of Cameroon, Cape Verde, Gabon, Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Gambia brings the total to 30 countries listed at Level 1. That number has also been on the rise. These are relatively positive signs, but it's important to remember that things are constantly changing with the pandemic.

Nonetheless, six of the eight most popular destinations for American tourists in 2019 according to the National Travel and Tourism Office sit at Level 4. That list includes Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. The two that are not at the highest warning level are Mexico and the Dominican Republic, both of which sit at Level 3.

For clarity, the CDC’s COVID advisory system runs from Level 1 to 4. As noted above, Level 4 includes places the CDC recommends American travelers avoid. "Because of the current situation in [these destinations], even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants," it says on its site. At lower warning levels, there are recommendations to get vaccinated and observe social distancing. 

If you choose to travel to locations with advisories anyhow, the CDC suggests you only travel after being vaccinated against COVID-19. Additionally, it recommends that you wear a face covering and avoid crowds at these destinations.

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Dustin Nelson is a Senior Staff Writer at Thrillist. Follow Dustin Nelson on Twitter.