The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has added Singapore to its highest travel warning level just as the Southeast Asian country is beginning to welcome American visitors again.
The CDC upgraded Singapore to a "Level 4" on Monday, warning all Americans "to avoid" traveling there. The "Level 4" indicates a "very high level" of COVID-19 transmission in the country. The Department of State similarly upgraded the country to its highest warning level, telling people "do not travel" there.
"Because of the current situation in Singapore, even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants," the CDC wrote in its advisory.
The CDC designates destinations as a "Level 4" if there are at least 500 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people.
The warnings come as Singapore started welcoming vaccinated travelers from several countries to enter quarantine-free under a "Vaccinated Travel Lanes" program on Tuesday, including from the United States.
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Travelers who do head to Singapore must be fully vaccinated with an approved vaccine, have spent the past 14 days in one of the approved countries, show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 48 hours of their departure, arrive on a designated VTL flight, and fill out an SG Arrival Card within three days of their arrival. Travelers must also pre-pay for an arrival test and isolate until they receive a negative result, and short-term travelers must obtain travel insurance.
Singapore is currently seeing a spike in new coronavirus infections, reporting more than 3,000 new cases per day, according to Reuters. When it comes to vaccines, the wire service estimates the country has vaccinated about 86.5% of its population.
The latest CDC and State Department warnings — which are reviewed on a weekly basis — also come as the U.S. prepares to open its borders to vaccinated foreign tourists next month, accepting people who have been inoculated with half a dozen COVID-19 vaccines which have been approved by the World Health Organization.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.