CDC Updates Travel Advisory, Adding Puerto Rico and More to Highest Warning Level

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned against traveling to United States territories Puerto Rico and Guam, and other destinations around the world due to an increase in coronavirus cases.

The agency on Monday raised the U.S. territories to a “Level 4,” indicating a “very high” level of COVID-19 transmission on the islands. The CDC didn’t explicitly advise Americans to avoid going to the territories, but noted that those who do travel to Puerto Rico or Guam should make sure they are fully vaccinated.

Puerto Rico is currently seeing a 10-14.9% test positivity rate on a 7-day average, while Guam is seeing a 5-7.9% test positivity rate for the same time period, according to the CDC’s data. Both are considered to have a “high” level of community transmission.

While travelers who fly into the U.S. from an international destination are required to get tested within three days of boarding a flight, those coming from U.S. territories — including Puerto Rico and Guam — are exempt.

Beyond the territories, the CDC also raised the travel advisory for Switzerland, Saint Lucia, North Macedonia, Estonia, and Azerbaijan to its highest warning level, advising Americans to “avoid” heading to those destinations.

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico

RICARDO ARDUENGO/AFP via Getty Images

The agency on Monday also raised several destinations to its “Level 3” warning, including Canada, recommending people be fully vaccinated before visiting the country and that unvaccinated travelers “avoid nonessential travel to Canada.” The agency had previously lowered Canada to a “Level 2” advisory just as Canada had started welcoming fully-vaccinated Americans to cross the border.

The CDC has continually updated its travel advisories, raising warning levels on popular tourist destinations in recent weeks like France, Greece, and the Bahamas.

The updated warnings came on the same day the European Union removed the U.S. from its safe travel list, recommending member states impose travel restrictions on American tourists. For its part, the U.S. continues to restrict non-essential travel for non-U.S. citizens from several destinations, including from the European Union, which the White House has indicated likely won’t change just yet, pointing to the spread of the highly contagious delta variant.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she’s not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.