Philippines again at US CDC’s ‘high’ travel risk list
MANILA, Philippines — Amid the current surge in COVID-19 cases, the Philippines again landed in the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (US CDC) “high” travel risk list.
The Philippines was added to the list on Tuesday (Manila time), along with Nepal and Russia.
The “high” travel risk level is the second highest health notice the CDC categorizes countries for American travelers. Under the said notice, travelers are encouraged to make sure that their vaccination is up to date before going to the Philippines.
“If you are not up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines, avoid travel to the Philippines,” warned the CDC.
“Even if you are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines, you may still be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19,” it added.
The CDC also told travelers with weakened immune systems to “consider delaying travel to the Philippines.”
Last February, the CDC also discouraged travel to the Philippines to the due to its “very high level of COVID-19” cases that saw numbers reaching as high as 39,000 owing to the first Omicron surge in January.
At that time, the country was listed by the US CDC under “Level Four: Very High,” the topmost tier on its travel health notices along with the warning: “Avoid travel to the Philippines.”
In April, however, the US lowered the Philippines’ COVID-19 travel risk level to “moderate” when cases averaged just under 400 daily.
The CDC uses a four-level system in categorizing international destinations. Under Level 2, travelers should make sure they are fully vaccinated before travel, while unvaccinated travelers who are at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should avoid non-essential travel to the concerned destination.
But due to the entry of more contagious Omicron subvariants, COVID-19 infections in the Philippines were again on the rise.
The Department of Health (DOH) last reported that the COVID-19 positivity rate nationwide was at 18.6 percent, almost four times the World Health Organization’s ideal threshold of 5 percent.
As of August 15, the country has so far recorded a total COVID-19 caseload of 3,835,422, with 38,982 active infections, 3,735,362 recoveries and 61,078 deaths.
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