CDC Says to 'Avoid' Travel to Thailand, New Zealand, Hong Kong

The designation comes a month after Thailand after it started welcoming travelers back with no need to quarantine.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning against traveling to Thailand and other destinations in the agency's latest update to its travel advisory.

The CDC classified Thailand as a "Level 4" destination this week, telling Americans to "avoid" heading there and to ensure they were "up to date" with their vaccines if they did. The classification indicates a "very high" level of COVID-19 transmission in the country.

The country's designation comes just over a month after it started welcoming travelers back without the need to quarantine. Thailand now allows international travelers to come if they show proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of their trip, pay for at least one night in a government-approved hotel, take a PCR test upon arrival, take a rapid antigen self-test on day 5 of their trip, and obtain an insurance policy with at least $20,000 in coverage, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

Currently, Thailand is reporting an average of just over 22,200 new infections per day, or 95% of its peak, according to Reuters.

The CDC also raised both Hong Kong and New Zealand to a "Level 4," its highest travel warning level. In total, the agency classifies 135 destinations as "Level 4," including some of the most popular tourist destinations like Canada, Aruba, Spain, Italy, and France.

A general nightime view of the Auckland skyline
Auckland, New Zealand. James D. Morgan/Getty Images

New Zealand has implemented some of the strictest border restrictions in the world, but recently started allowing its own citizens to travel back to the country quarantine-free and has announced plans to welcome other fully-vaccinated international travelers as soon as July without the need to self-isolate, according to the country's COVID-19 website.

Destinations are classified as "Level 4" if there are more than 500 COVID-19 cases reported per 100,000 people over the last 28 days.

While the CDC warned against going to some destinations, the agency lowered its warning for Mexico to "Level 3" after previously designating it a COVID-19 risk.

The CDC's updated travel warning comes as some countries have completely eliminated pandemic-related border rules, including Ireland and Iceland.

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.

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