Singapore—The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) this week rated  travellers at greater risk of catching Covid-19 in Singapore  than, say,  Argentina, Brazil, Ethiopia, Indonesia and Russia.

It placed Singapore on its Level 4 list of “very high” Covid-19 risk as  a travel destinations. In fact, Level 4 is the CDC’s highest risk category. It warns the public to “Avoid travel to these destinations. If you must travel to these destinations, make sure you are fully vaccinated before travel.”

This means that the CDC considers Singapore to be at the same danger level as Malaysia, Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Turkey, Somalia, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, among others.

For Singapore’s information page on the CDC website, travelers are warned that even those who are fully vaccinated “may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants.”

CNN, which reported on the country’s recent inclusion to the highest risk category list, noted that the “ultramodern city-state of Singapore” had moved up from Level 3, or the High Risk category, to Level 4, just as eight new countries had been added to the Vaccinated Travel Lane program.

“This newest update is far cry from early August, when the CDC added 16 destinations in one week to Level 4, and Delta variant cases were rising rapidly across much of the planet. This is the first week since early August that only one nation has been added to Level 4,” CNN reported.

Interestingly, Italy and Indonesia, whose case numbers soared at different points during the pandemic, are classified by the CDC as Level 3 countries, along with France, Japan, Spain and South Africa, whose infection numbers and death rates are far higher than Singapore’s.

India, which was devastated by the Delta variant earlier this year, is at Level 2, putting it in the Moderate risk category, along with such countries as Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Egypt, while Hong Kong and New Zealand have been classified as Level 1, or Low risk destinations.

Does this mean that all the countries that are in Levels 1, 2 and 3 are safer than Singapore? 

Not necessarily, as it turns out.

The US CDC designates countries that have had over 500 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days as Very High Risk. Therefore, placing a country in the Level 4 list does not depend on the overall number of cases or deaths.

Despite the recent spike in infections, Singapore’s 25,980 cases per one million people is lower than the worldwide average of 29,233. And while it may be too soon to tell whether or not Covid cases have peaked in the country, as new infections decrease, Singapore’s risk status as determined by the CDC will also change.

This week, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung sounded optimistic that the country had turned a corner in its fight against Covid. He said on Monday (Oct 18) that “day by day, we are moving closer to the light at the end of the tunnel.” /TISG

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