The US’s Centres for Disease Control (CDC) now ranks Zimbabwe among safe countries with the lowest COVID-19 risk for travellers, according to an updated travel advisory.
Zimbabwe has moved to Level 1, “Low Risk”, up from Level 4, which is “Very High” risk.
Earlier this year, the US had warned Americans not to travel to much of the world, designating multiple of counties, Zimbabwe included, in the “Very High Risk” category. But as vaccine rollout speeds up around the world, the US has eased some of its travel measures on dozens of countries.
The CDC has four levels of travel caution: Level 4 is for “Very High Risk” countries where citizens are urged not to travel; Level 3 is “High Risk”, countries to which unvaccinated travellers are told to avoid nonessential travel; Level 2 is “Moderate”, where unvaccinated travellers who are at risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should avoid nonessential travel.
Under Zimbabwe’s Level 1, the US only urges travellers to “make sure you are fully vaccinated before travel to these destinations”.
The other SADC countries in the Low category are Malawi and Mozambique. Zambia is in Level 2 (moderate) while South Africa is classified under Level 3 (high).
Explaining how it came up with the latest updated list, the CDC said: “Primary and secondary criteria used to determine Travel Health Notice levels were updated to better differentiate countries with severe outbreak situations from countries with sustained, but controlled, COVID-19 spread.”
In its changes, the CDC moved 58 countries out of Level 4, the “Do Not Travel” list, and designating them under Level 3, the “Reconsider Travel” destinations.
Zimbabwe was one of 34 countries moved to the “Low” COVID-19 level.
According to Cabinet, Zimbabwe expects to receive an additional 500,000 vaccine doses, believed to be of the Sputnik V vaccine, within the week. A total of 1,078,809 vaccine doses had been used by Tuesday, out of the total 1,735,000 shots that have so far arrived in the country.
As at Tuesday, Zimbabwe had recorded a cumulative 39,321 COVID cases, 36,756 recoveries, and 1,617 deaths.