Gee, what could happen when only about 16% of your population is fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and people are producing fake vaccination cards? How about something that rhymes with “oh bid nineteen splurge?”
Yes, Ukraine is experiencing a Covid-19 surge. And as a result, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has now moved the country up to Level 4 on it’s Covid-19 Travel Recommendations list. The CDC Covid-19 risk levels are like golf scores, higher is worse. Level 4 means that the Covid-19 risk there is currently “very high,” the highest of the CDC’s four risk level. The CDC recommends avoiding travel to all Level 4 destinations.
On Monday, Ukraine joined destinations such as Austria, Greece, Israel, Thailand, and the U.K. at Level 4. So you may want to postpone those plans to go first to the Baked Bean Museum of Excellence in the U.K. followed by a visit to the Toilet History Museum in Ukraine.
A destination reaches Level 4 when the number of reported Covid-19 cases per 100,000 residents over the past 28 days exceeds 500. Recently, Ukraine has had more Covid-19 cases per day than they’ve had at any time during the pandemic. They’ve averaged over 20,000 new reported Covid-19 coronavirus infections and over 500 deaths each day, based on info from the Reuters Covid-19 tracker. As of October 26, Ukraine has had 2,803,159 confirmed cases of Covid-19 with 64,936 deaths throughout the pandemic, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The Ukrainian government has been trying to combat this surge. On Friday, schools closed for two weeks in an attempt to curb the spread of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Their health care system is overwhelmed as well, as the following World is One News (WION) segment shows:
A continuing big problem is the low, low Covid-19 vaccination rate in Ukraine. As Julia Drozd has reported for ABC News on October 23, the Ukrainian government hasn’t really implemented vaccination requirements for anyone beyond teachers, civil servants, and those wanting to travel. But even those minimal requirements have spawned a “Covid vaccination certificate black market.” People apparently are selling fake Covid-19 vaccination certificates for $20 to $200 (USD) apiece proving the adage that people will fake it until they, well, keep faking it.
There was some positive news for the CDC Covid-19 travel recommendations list. Well, positive as in fewer positive Covid-19 tests in seven destinations. Guatemala, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritius, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, and Sri Lanka moved from Level 4 to Level 3 on the CDC list. As I covered earlier this month for Forbes, a destination goes from Level 4 to Level 3 when the number of reported Covid-19 cases per 100,000 residents over the past 28 days drops from above 500 down to the 100 to 500 range. Level 3 means that the Covid-19 risk is “high” as opposed to “very high.” Of course, a “high” Covid-19 risk is still not great. You’d probably avoid a situation where your risk of getting smacked in the face by a lemur holding a frying pan was high. Nevertheless, Level 3 allow for more flexibility: those who are vaccinated can travel to such destinations assuming that they take other Covid-19 precautions as well. Those who are unvaccinated should still avoid travel to Level 3 destinations.
There is another continuing concern with destinations like Ukraine where the Covid-19 coronavirus is spreading and only a fraction of the population is vaccinated. And it rhymes with “boo variants emerging.” It’s the possibility of new variants emerging.