Tuesday's update by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention included Covid-19 travel advice. Two new countries, both from Africa, have joined the "high" risk group.
Perhaps more important this week was the news that two destinations in Europe with stubbornly high levels of risk were downgraded from "moderate" to "moderate".
Two bright spots in a continent plagued by high risk are the Scandinavian cultural powerhouse of Sweden, and the historic and heavily forested Romania in Eastern Europe.
The CDC revamped its rating system to assess Covid-19 risk in April.
Level 3 is considered the highest level of risk. Level 2 is considered moderate risk. Level 1 is considered "low" risk.
The highest level of risk, previously Level 4, is now reserved for exceptional circumstances such as high case counts, the emergence of a new variant or the collapse of an existing health care infrastructure. No destinations have been assigned to Level 4 under the new system.
The "Level 3: Covid-19 high" category is now available to those places with more than 100 cases per 100,000 residents within the last 28 days. These are the two destinations that have been added to Level 3 this week:
* Botswana* Cape Verde
Botswana is a favorite landlocked safari destination and has moved up from Level 1. Cape Verde, which is off the west coast Africa's North Atlantic coast, has moved up from Level 2.
On June 21, there were 110 destinations at Level 3. Nearly half of all 235 places that the CDC monitors are located at Level 3.
Learn more about Level 3
Despite the positive news about Sweden and Romania, a lot of Europe has remained there since the start of the summer travel season. These top European destinations were still at Level 3.
* France* Germany* Greece* Ireland* Italy* The Netherlands* Norway * Spain* United Kingdom
It's not only European favourites that are at Level 3. Many notable destinations are included in the high-risk category.
* Brazil * Canada* Costa Rica * Malaysia* Mexico * South Korea* Thailand
The CDC recommends that you have your Covid-19 vaccinations up-to-date before you travel to Level 3. You are considered "up-to-date" if you have received all of your initial vaccines and any boosters.
In the last 28 days, destinations with the "Level 2 Covid-19 Moderate” designation reported between 50 and 100 Covid-19 cases for every 100,000 residents. On Tuesday, six places were elevated to this level in total
* Bolivia* Ethiopia* Kenya* Morocco* Romania * Sweden
The move to Level 2 wasn't good news for the European countries, but it was bad news for the three African nations of Bolivia, Kenya, and Morocco. They had previously been at Level 1. (Ethiopia didn't appear in last week’s roundup.
The CDC has provided information on its travel recommendations page that allows you to view their risk levels for any destination worldwide.
The CDC recommends that you avoid all international travel until your immunity is fully restored.
A destination must have 49 or less new cases per 100,000 residents in order to be considered "Level 1: Covid-19 Lower". Six locations from all over the globe were added to this category on June 21.
* El Salvador* Fiji * Guinea* Moldova* Sint Eustatius* Tanzania
Sint Eustatius in the Caribbean, a tiny Dutch island, was especially happy with this move.
Last week, El Salvador and Fiji were at Level 2, while Africa's Guinea was "unknown" and Tanzania was "unknown".
The CDC also identifies destinations that are "unknown" because they lack sufficient information. These are usually remote areas or places that have ongoing war or unrest. This week, four new places were added:
*Bhutan* Comoros* Democratic Republic of the Congo* Ghana
These places are not recommended by the CDC because of unknown risks. Macau, the Canary Islands, and Cambodia are other destinations that fall under this category.
A medical expert reviews the risk levels
According to CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Leana Wen, transmission rates are only "one guidepost" that travelers can use for their personal risk calculations.
We have entered "a phase of the pandemic" where people must make their own decisions based upon their medical conditions as well as their risk tolerance in regards to Covid-19. Wen is an emergency physician who is also a professor of health policy management at the George Washington University Milken Institute school of public health.
According to Wen, there are many other factors that must be weighed in addition to transmission speeds.
She said, "One is what precautions must be taken and followed in the area you're visiting. The third is what you plan to do once you get there."
Are you going to be visiting a lot of attractions, and then go to bars indoors? This is very different to if you are going to a place where you plan on lying on the beach for the entire day without interfacing with anyone. It's quite different. These are two very different levels risk.
Wen stated that vaccination is the most important safety factor when traveling, as unvaccinated travelers are more susceptible to becoming ill and passing Covid-19 to others.
It's important to think about what you would do if your test results are positive far away.
Although US-bound travelers do not need to submit a negative Covid-19 testing to fly home, the CDC recommends that you have your test done before you board any flight to the States.
CNN Travel's Wen said recently that "Officially, if people have symptoms, or exposure while traveling," they should be tested. If they do, we recommend following CDC's isolation guidelines.
Check here if you have concerns about any travel-related health issues not related to Covid-19.