The CDC Says to Avoid These 2 Popular Destinations Right Now

The warning still applies to travelers who are fully vaccinated.

The ability to pack a bag and hit the road has been one of the many things upended by the COVID-19 pandemic. And while a short downturn in cases made some hopeful they could begin to travel with ease again, a recent surge in cases is now making the idea of vacationing in some areas feel even further off. The latest setback comes as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has added two more popular destinations to their list of locales travelers should avoid: the Bahamas and St. Martin.

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In an update posted on Aug. 23, the health agency moved the two popular island locales to their top risk alert tier of "Level 4: COVID-19 Very High." Haiti, Kosovo, Lebanon, and Morocco were also designated the same category in the update.

The warnings come just days after Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis declared a daily curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. in many parts of the island nation, including mainland Exuma; mainland Abaco and the Abaco Cays; and North, Central, and South Andros. Currently, St. Martin requires all arriving visitors from the U.S. and Canada to provide a negative COVID test within 72 hours before traveling and are subject to temperature checks and further testing upon arrival.

The agency advises that all travel to any countries listed as "Level 4"  should be avoided if at all possible. Anyone who absolutely must travel to the destinations should be fully vaccinated before doing so. The CDC still recommends that any who must travel anywhere internationally should seek out their doses before leaving the U.S., and restrictions still in place require that all returning travelers provide a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of their return flight regardless of vaccination status.

"Fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to get and spread COVID-19. However, international travel poses additional risks, and even fully vaccinated travelers might be at increased risk for getting and possibly spreading some COVID-19 variants," the agency said.

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The travel advisories are the latest in a weeks-long string of additions to the CDC's list of "Very High" risk countries for travelers to avoid just months after many countries were designated safe to visit. "The COVID-19 situation, including the spread of new or concerning variants, differs from country to country," the agency says. "All travelers need to pay close attention to the conditions at their destination before traveling."

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The news also comes as the CDC issued a warning that anyone aged 65 and older should avoid cruise ships, regardless of their vaccination status. The agency also specified that vaccinated people who are pregnant, were recently pregnant, anyone with "an increased risk of severe illness," and people of any age who are unvaccinated shouldn't set sail on a cruise while the Delta variant continues to surge.

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Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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