WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the State Department on Monday advised against travel to Germany and Denmark because of a rising number of COVID-19 cases in those countries.
The CDC elevated its travel recommendation to “Level Four: Very High” for the two European countries, telling Americans they should avoid travel there, while the State Department issued parallel “Do Not Travel” advisories for both countries.
The CDC currently lists about 75 destinations worldwide at Level Four, with many European countries on the list including Austria, Britain, Belgium, Greece, Norway, Switzerland, Romania, Ireland and the Czech Republic.
Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel told leaders of her conservative party that measures being taken to stop the spread of the coronavirus in Europe’s biggest economy were insufficient and that stronger action needed to be taken, Reuters reported on Monday.
Case numbers in Germany have been soaring, especially among the elderly whose first two shots of COVID-19 vaccine were at the start of the year, and among children who are not eligible for inoculation.
Earlier this month, the World Health Organization (WHO) said European countries must work harder to prevent the coronavirus spreading further as deaths and new cases surge.
Current transmission rates in 53 European countries are of “grave concern” and new cases are nearing record levels, exacerbated by the more transmissible Delta variant of the virus, the WHO’s Hans Kluge warned. “We must change our tactics, from reacting to surges of COVID-19, to preventing them from happening in the first place,” he said.
Germany has already decided to limit large parts of public life in areas where hospitals are filling with COVID-19 patients.
Neighboring Austria on Monday imposed a full COVID-19 lockdown after announcing some renewed restrictions last week. German acting Health Minister Jens Spahn warned on Friday that Germany may follow.
The CDC separately lowered its COVID-19 travel advisory from Level Four to “Level Three: Low” for Israel, Aruba, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Curacao and Guadeloupe.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Bill Berkrot)