The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “very high” risk travel warning for Americans has grown, swelling to nearly 140 destinations as the global COVID situation in many locations worsens.

On Monday, the CDC added another five places to the category, which it warned Americans against traveling to even if they are fully vaccinated due to the "risk for getting and spreading COVID-19."

The updated Level 4 “very high” risk category saw Azerbaijan, Belarus, Comoros, Saint Pierre and Miquelon and South Korea added this week. All of the destinations were previously listed in the CDC’s Level 3 “high” risk category, seeing their COVID case counts worsen over the last week.

The CDC designates a Level 4 location when it has more than 500 cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 residents reported in the past 28 days.

The CDC’s Level 4 category now includes more places than any other category listed by the agency combined. It also represents more than half of all locations listed in the CDC’s travel advisory. In early January, only about 80 destinations were listed in the Level 4 category.

Also listed in the Level 4 “high risk” category is most of Europe, Mexico, the Caribbean, Canada and cruise travel. Japan was added to the Level 4 list last week, as well as Armenia, Cuba, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Israel, Libya and Oman.

Four updates were made to the Level 3 “high” risk category by the CDC on Monday, including El Salvador, Eswatini, Indonesia and Mauritius.

It was good news for Eswatini and Mauritius, which dropped from its Level 4 ranking, while El Salvador moved up from Level 2 “moderate” risk as its COVID situation worsened. Indonesia also saw its COVID case count increase, moving up two risk categories from Level 1 “low” risk to Level 3.

A Level 3 destination is determined as having between 100 and 500 COVID cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days.

No update was made to the Level 2 “moderate” risk category. A Level 2 nation has between 50 to 99 COVID cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days.

A Level 1 nation has fewer than 50 COVID cases per 100,000 residents reported over the past 28 days.

Seoul, South Korea
Visitors take pictures of lanterns shaped like members of a traditional Korean royal ancestral rites band during the Seoul Lantern Festival at Cheonggye stream in central Seoul, in this photograph taken on Nov. 4. REUTERS/Jo Yong hak
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