U.S. urges Americans to avoid travel to Spain, Finland over COVID-19 concerns

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the State Department on Monday advised Americans against travel to eight destinations including Spain, Finland, Chad and Lebanon.

The CDC also added Bonaire, Monaco, San Marino and Gibraltar to its “Level 4: Very High” classification. It now lists about 85 countries at its highest level, including nearly all of Europe.

The State Department issued parallel “Level 4: Do Not Travel” for the destinations that were not previously rated at its highest level, including Spain, Finland, Chad and Lebanon.

Spain is one of the most popular foreign tourist destinations for Americans.

Spain’s coronavirus infection rate rose above 500 cases per 100,000 people on Friday, crossing over the threshold considered “very high risk” by the Health Ministry and more than doubling since the start of December.

On Friday the infection rate, or incidence, as measured over the preceding 14 days, was 511 cases per 100,000, up 38 points on Thursday’s 473. There were 33,359 new infections and 41 deaths, according to Health Ministry data.

Roughly 80% of Spain’s population of 47 million has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and some 10 million people have received booster shots.

(Reporting by David ShepardsonEditing by Sonya Hepinstall)