The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are cautioning against travel to Germany and Demark after moving the two popular European destinations to its list of countries with “very high” COVID-19 rates.
The two countries were bumped up to the CDC’s “level 4” category on Monday, with the agency raising guidance to warn that all U.S. travelers should avoid these destinations regardless of vaccination status. Both countries allow fully vaccinated U.S. tourists to visit as of Tuesday.
“If you must travel to these destinations, make sure you are fully vaccinated before travel,” the CDC says on its website.
The State Department issued a parallel warning Monday, raising Germany and Denmark to its own “do not travel” list.
► Long distance relationships: Tips from international couples
►Come explore with us: Subscribe to our Travel newsletter
The change comes as Europe faces its latest COVID-19 surge ahead of the holidays.
Germany has been facing its worst surge of COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, reporting more than 333,000 cases the week of Nov. 15, according to the World Health Organization. That’s nearly double the weekly rate reported during a prior surge in December 2020.
German health officials said the rapid rise in cases means it’s likely everyone in the country who isn’t vaccinated will have caught COVID-19 by the end of the winter.
About 68% of Germany’s total population was fully vaccinated as of Monday, according to the country’s ministry of health.
► Austria to begin national lockdown: Tourist travel ‘will not be possible during this time’
The country reinstated the use of its digital pass earlier this month, which restricts access to venues like restaurants and large events to people who have been vaccinated, recently recovered or tested negative within the past 72 hours.
About 76% of Denmark’s population has been fully vaccinated as of Tuesday, according to Our World in Data statistics.
The CDC also moved a handful of other European destinations – Iceland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Guernsey, a British Crown Dependency in the English Channel – to its “level 4” category last week.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Bailey Schulz on Twitter: @bailey_schulz.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: CDC warns against travel to Germany, Denmark as COVID cases surge