The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) added Ukraine to its “very high” risk level for its travel advisory list on Monday as the country struggles with a surge of COVID-19 infections and deaths.
The move puts the second-largest nation in Europe at the CDC’s highest risk level category, level four, along with 76 other countries.
Under the advisory, the CDC recommends Americans avoid traveling to Ukraine, noting if they must travel they should ensure they’re fully vaccinated and following precautions like wearing a mask and social distancing.
The agency warned that fully vaccinated travelers may still be at risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19 variants due to “the current situation in Ukraine.”
The CDC recommends against travel for those who are sick, who have been exposed without being vaccinated, who tested positive for COVID-19 and remain in isolation, and who are waiting for test results. Unvaccinated travelers are advised to get tested one to three days before the trip.
Ukraine has seen skyrocketing COVID-19 cases and deaths in recent weeks, reaching a record high of more than 24,000 new cases and 640 deaths in a single day on Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
In total, Ukraine has counted more than 2.9 million cases and 69,000 fatalities since the beginning of the pandemic.
The update comes as Ukraine’s neighbor Russia reached new highs of daily COVID-19 infections and deaths at least two times last week after surpassing previous records set throughout this month. The CDC designated Russia as a very high risk destination in early June.
Countries designated at level four risk counted more than 500 cases per 100,000 residents in the last 28 days. The agency’s Ukraine advisory comes about a week after the CDC moved Singapore to the highest risk level for travel.
Still, this represents an improvement from August when multiple nations were boosted to level four concern at a time when the highly transmissible delta variant was spreading rapidly worldwide.