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Travel: CDC, State Department warns Americans “do not travel” to the Caribbean & other nations due to COVID-19

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has added 22 countries and territories to its highest travel risk category, “Level Four: Very High,” due to the ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases from the omicron variant. Among the countries the CDC is telling American travelers to avoid are Israel, Australia Panama, Bolivia, Qatar and Bermuda. Most of the most popular destinations in the Caribbean were also added to the Level 4 category:

  • Aruba
  • The Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Turks and Caicos
  • Saint Lucia
  • Sint Maarten
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Grenada

The CDC now has over 100 countries and territories at “Level 4″ as a result of the continuing surge caused by the omicron strain of the coronavirus, including such popular European nations as the U.K., Italy, and Spain. The agency typically assigns countries the Level 4 categorization when more than 500 positive cases per 100,000 residents are reported in the previous 28 days. According to the CDC website, if you have to travel to a Level 4 country, you should be fully vaccinated before travel to protect yourself.

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  Traveling soon? Here’s where you can quickly get a COVID-19 PCR test for travel Editor’s note: This post has been updated with more recent information. Testing is much more accessible now than it was earlier on in the pandemic. As more people are vaccinated against COVID-19, some countries have dropped testing requirements for fully vaccinated travelers. But depending on where you want to go, a negative COVID-19 test result …Testing is much more accessible now than it was earlier on in the pandemic.

In addition, another 20 countries were bumped to Level 3: High.” They include:

  • Jamaica
  • Costa Rica
  • Cuba
  • Hong Kong
  • China
  • Uganda
  • Kuwait
  • The Philippines

The CDC recommends that unvaccinated Americans avoid nonessential travel to those destinations categorized as Level 3.

Related: The difference between the State Dept. and CDC travel warnings

The U.S. State Department also updated its own travel warnings this week, adding 25 countries to “Level 4: Do Not Travel,” its highest risk classification. The State Department’s advisories typically mirror those of the CDC, and most of the countries the CDC added to its highest-risk category also received a new warning from State.

But the State Dept. warnings take other factors into account when assessing the risk involved with traveling to a nation or territory. These factors include civil unrest, natural disasters, crime and terrorism and currently, COVID-19. That is why Jamaica is at “Level 4: Do Not Travel” on the State Department’s advisory list, while just “Level 3: High” for the CDC.

Which Caribbean Island Should You Visit?

  Which Caribbean Island Should You Visit? Whether you’re looking for adventure, pristine beaches, family fun, or a budget getaway, there’s a perfect destination for your ideal Caribbean vacation.Combine these elements with the Caribbean’s extensive air connections to U.S. gateways and the health and safety framework adopted across this tourism-reliant region, and it’s clear that Caribbean destinations will continue to top getaway wish lists.

The State Dept. identifies those risk factors in each country’s advisory with initials in the top right-hand corner that correspond to the chart below:

C=Crime.

T=Terrorism.

U=Civil unrest.

H=Health risks, including COVID-19.

N=Natural disaster.

E =Time-limited event.

O =Other potential risks not covered by previous risk indicators.

K= Kidnapping/hostage-taking.

Notice that the latest advisory for the Bahamas includes a “C” for crime, and “H” for health risks.

(Screenshot courtesy of Travel.State.gov) © The Points Guy (Screenshot courtesy of Travel.State.gov)

Related: Confused by the State Dept. advisories? Here’s what they mean

Featured image by Laurie Chamberlain/Getty Images

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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