Americans advised to avoid travel to Thailand

A man wearing a face mask walks past Wat Pho on Feb 24, 2022. The country reports its largest number of new daily Covid-19 coronavirus infections on Feb 26 since the start of the pandemic. (AFP photo)

WASHINGTON: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Monday added Thailand, Hong Kong and New Zealand to its list of destinations Americans are advised not to visit because of Covid-19.

The CDC elevated its travel recommendation to "Level Four: Very High" for Thailand and two other destinations. In total, the CDC urges Americans to avoid travel to about 135 countries and territories.

The CDC lists another 33 destinations as "Level 3: High" and recommends unvaccinated Americans avoid travel. It lowered six destinations on Monday to Level 3: Anguilla, Cape Verde, Fiji, Mexico, the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates. A total of just 29 destinations are listed as "Level 2: Moderate" or "Level 1: Low."

"If you must travel to Thailand, make sure you are vaccinated and up to date with your Covid-19 vaccines before travel," it said, adding that "even if you are up to date with your Covid-19 vaccines, you may still be at risk for getting and spreading Covid-19."

The Thai Public Health Ministry reported 18,943 new Covid-19 cases and 69 more fatalities on Tuesday.

Hong Kong reported 25,150 new coronavirus infections and 280 deaths on Monday, as authorities struggle to contain a worsening Covid-19 outbreak which has torn through hundreds of nursing homes and hit many of the city's unvaccinated elderly.

While Hong Kong was successful in controlling the virus in 2021, Covid-19 infections there have recently soared to a total of around 500,000. Most of the Chinese-ruled city's more than 2,200 deaths have been in the past two weeks.

Hong Kong reported the most deaths globally per million people in the week to March 6, according to data publication Our World in Data. CDC raised Hong Kong to "Level 3" last week.

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