CDC Moves 5 Countries To High Risk Category Including Colombia And Paraguay

CDC Moves 5 Countries To High Risk Category Including Colombia And Paraguay


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After a relatively quiet start of summer, Covid is making headlines again as a number of countries report rising infection trends and start reintroducing curbs they had once abandoned. As expected, the CDC is keeping a watchful eye on it, and has not hesitated to issue its infamous travel health notices. This week, 5 more destinations were included in the Level 3 category.

Church Of St Peter Claver Bocagrande In Cartegena, Colombia, South America

They are the South American gems of Colombia and Paraguay, Europe’s rising stars North Macedonia and Kosovo, and the less popular Iraq. Although they were in the CDC’s good graces for the better part of 2022, they now join the likes of Bolivia, Peru and several others in the Level 3 listing, only one level short of the ‘Special Circumstances’ category.

Judging by the new sub-lineage of Omicron that’s emerged and the havoc it’s wreaking, what seemed like a swift summer reopening could soon turn into yet another season of gloomy advisories and travel restrictions:

5 New Countries Added To The Level 3 List

African Colombian Women Wearing Traditional Attire And Face Masks In Cartagena, Colombia

The CDC may have formally ended its Covid program for cruises earlier this week, signalling the endemic phase of the pandemic could be near, but it has conversely slapped a Level 3 warning on a new grouping of countries. Essentially, the risk of acquiring a Covid infection while traveling Colombia, Paraguay, North Macedonia, Kosovo and Iraq is ‘high’.

In all of the above, there have been more than 100 cases per 100,000 population, meaning health risks are no longer ‘moderate’. Out of the five unfortunate nations, Kosovo has been the one to experience the sharpest uptick in cases, being demoted straight from Level 1, a category where infections rates are considered to be ‘low’.

Historical City Of Prizren, Kosovo Photographed At Dusk, Balkans, Southeastern Europe

The remaining four had all been at Level 2 prior to the announcement, and taking into account they are located in three different continents (South America, Europe and Asia), this is an indication Covid is moving fast across national borders again. In Europe, chances of contracting the disease are particularly high, as cases have trippled in the last six weeks.

Out of a total of 235 countries and territories monitored by the U.S. health body, 115 are currently at Level 3. More could be added soon: this has been the most eventful week in regards to CDC updates since summer began, proving Omicron and its sub-variants are making a comeback as we slowly move into the colder fall and winter months.

CDC Health Advice For The Vaccinated And Unvaccinated Traveling To A Level 3 Destination

Health Professional Updating A CDC Covid Vaccination Record Card

Traveling to Colombia, Paraguay, North Macedonia, Kosovo or Iraq, Americans are urged to:


  • Ensure their vaccination scheme is complete and updated – this includes having a booster dose
  • If they haven’t yet received a booster, avoid traveling to one of the five countries
  • Vaccinated individuals with a weakened immune system should contact their clinician for advice and consider postponing their trip
  • They must wear protective masks over the age of 2 in all indoor public spaces, including public transportation
Male Commuter Wearing A Face Mask In The New York Metro During Covid 19 Pandemic


  • The unvaccinated should not travel to these regions due to the higher risk of infection, though the advice is non-binding
  • Much like the vaccinated, they are urged to wear face masks indoors even when it’s not mandatory

The CDC is also advising all Americans to get tested ahead of traveling, preferably less than 3 days preceding departure, even when a country does not require any such documentation for entry. Now that a majority of countries has scrapped all Covid rules, testing rates has ceased being a part of international travel.

Young Male Traveler Wearing A Hygienic Mask As He Has His Covid VAccine Passport Or Test Scanned

Still, the CDC encourages testing, seeing that it reduces the spread of the virus and helps travelers monitor their own health. Additionally, the organization is reminding Americans they must check all entry requirements and recommendations in place at their destination. Those might be different from the U.S. and local penalties could apply.

What Other Risks Are Involved With Traveling To These Countries?

View Of Pristina, Kosovo

Covid is not the only concern travelers may have visiting these countries. There are a number of other non-health related issues plaguing them Americans should know ahead of booking a trip:


The U.S. Department of State is advising U.S. citizens to ‘reconsider’ travel to Colombia due to crime and terrorism. They also mention ‘civil unrest’ and ‘kidnapping’, especially in the administrative units of Arauca, Cauca (with the exception of Popayan), and Norte de Santander. It is worth mentioning most trips to Colombia, especially touristy sites, are trouble-free.

Young Female Tourist Wandering The Streets Of Cartagena, Colombia


Unlike Colombia, Paraguay is deemed a much safer destination in South America, at least when Covid is discounted. Travelers should exercise ‘normal precautions’ when visiting this country, and ‘increased caution’ in a handful of departments, including Amambay, Alto Parana, Canindeyu, San Pedro and Concepcion.

North Macedonia

The CDC considers the small European nation of North Macedonia safe for travel. There may be pickpockets and the usual scammers you’ll find in large urban centers, but tourists are not under any particular threat vacationing in this Balkan gem. Luckily, North Macedonia is open for tourism with no Covid restrictions whatsoever.

Church Of St John At Kaneo In Ohrid, Overlooking Lake Ohrid, North Macedonia


Kosovo is Europe’s youngest nation, having declared independence from Serbia only in 2007. Since then, both countries have been at loggerheads over Kosovo’s status and the outline of its borders, and violence in border areas is not unheard of. For that reason, Americans should avoid all travel to North Mitrovica, Leposavic, Zubin Potok and Zvecan.


Tourists should avoid all travel to Iraq due to countless reasons. Those include terrorism, kidnapping, armed conflict, civil unrest and the difficulties Americans find when in need of consular assistance. On top of that, Anti-West and/or Anti/U.S. militias, as well as extremist groups, operate in the country, making Iraq an extremely unsafe destination for Americans.

For more information and official travel advice, please refer to the U.S. Department of State webpage.

Read More:

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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling.  Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories

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