US warns against travel to Australia amid COVID spike

The CDC has added 22 new countries to its Level 4 warning list.

Corinne Reichert Senior Writer
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently oversees the CNET breaking news desk for the West Coast. Corinne covers everything from phones, social media and security to movies, politics, 5G and pop culture. In her spare time, she watches soccer games, F1 races and Disney movies.
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Corinne Reichert
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If you must travel to Australia, you should be fully vaccinated, the CDC says.

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The US has updated its travel warnings, adding Australia and 21 other countries to its Level 4 travel advisory list Tuesday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated the list due to rising COVID-19 cases across the globe. 

"Avoid travel to Australia. If you must travel to Australia, make sure you are fully vaccinated before travel," the CDC's Australian travel warning says. "Because of the current situation in Australia, even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants."

The CDC's definition of "fully vaccinated" is receiving your primary series of shots, CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at the start of January, though the CDC also recommends people stay up to date with booster shots.

Read more: COVID-19 booster shots: Will I need a fourth vaccine dose?

It's the first time Australia has been added to the Level 4 warning list in the US. It was one of 22 countries included in the travel advisory list this week, including Argentina, Uruguay, Israel, Egypt and Qatar. Multiple Caribbean islands and South American nations were also added Tuesday.

It follows the US last week warning against travel to Canada. The Level 4 warning list includes the majority of Europe, parts of Africa and travel on cruise ships.

COVID is continuing to rise rapidly across the US and the world due to the highly contagious omicron variant. Australia has a 28-day case total of around 1.6 million, according to Johns Hopkins University's COVID tracking numbers from Tuesday. That's currently the eighth highest in the world, while the US has a 28-day case total of 15.4 million. As a percentage of the population, Australia's case rate sits at around 6.3%, compared to around 4.7% in the US.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.