Federal health officials are now advising U.S. travelers to avoid Spain, Finland, Monaco and five other countries due to their “very high” COVID-19 risk levels.
Spain, Finland, Bonaire, Chad, Gibraltar, Lebanon, Monaco and San Marino on Monday climbed to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “very high” COVID risk level, the agency’s top pandemic advisory level for foreign destinations. There are 80 other countries in this category, including popular destinations like the United Kingdom, France and Italy.
“Avoid travel to these destinations,” the CDC warns. “If you must travel to these destinations, make sure you are fully vaccinated before travel.”
The shift comes as counties across the globe begin to discover the newest coronavirus variant, omicron, which is believed to be more contagious but potentially less virulent than the delta variant.
The CDC moved a number of other countries this week:
Albania and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines moved from level 4 to level 3.
French Guiana and Moldova moved from level 4 to level unknown.
The Bahamas, Honduras and Grenada moved from level 3 to level 2.
Peru moved from level 2 to level 3.
Fiji moved from level 2 to level 1.
Comoros and Saint Pierre and Miquelon moved from level 1 to level 2.
Sudan moved from level 1 to level unknown.
The CDC looks at a number of factors, including case counts and testing data, when determining a country’s risk level.
The State Department also updated its travel guidance this week and moved 10 countries (Bonaire, Chad, Ethiopia, Finland, French Guiana, Lebanon, Moldova, Spain, Sudan and Ukraine) to its own level 4 travel advisory. The department guidance warns Americans against traveling to these destinations.
► Which EU countries are open to tourists?: A breakdown of EU travel restrictions by country
Follow USA TODAY reporter Bailey Schulz on Twitter: @bailey_schulz.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Spain, Monaco, Finland added to CDC’s level 4 ‘avoid travel’ list