The CDC Says Don't Go to This Popular Caribbean Destination Right Now
The agency is advising against visiting the beloved vacation spot as Delta surges.
For many, traveling allows us to step away from work for some much-needed relaxation, visit friends and loved ones, and get immersed in other cultures. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has made hitting the road or taking to the skies harder than ever, especially as the Delta variant has sent cases back up in some places and made them too dangerous to visit. Now, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning travelers to avoid yet another popular destination: Jamaica.
On Sept. 7, the CDC posted an update to its website announcing it had moved Jamaica into its top risk tier of "Level 4: COVID-19 Very High" along with Sri Lanka and the small nation of Brunei. The U.S. State Department also issued a similar warning on the same day, elevating Jamaica to its highest "Level 4: Do Not Travel" designation due to a spike in COVID-19 infections and an increase in violent crime in Kingston, Montego Bay, and Spanish Town.
The CDC advises that all travel to any countries listed as "Level 4" should be avoided if at all possible. The agency determines risk level based on recently reported cases, with the top tier designated as any place where more than 500 cases per 100,000 residents have been recorded in the past 28 days.
Jamaica has seen a low turnout for its vaccination efforts, with only 19 doses administered per 100 people as of Sept. 7, CNN reports. A set of curfews has also been in place on the island since Aug. 21, with specific national "no-movement" days that prohibit non-essential outings in an effort to curb the most recent COVID outbreaks.
Jamaica isn't the first popular travel destination to be added to the CDC's top warning level. Just last week, Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, and Switzerland were added to the list, joining the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, St. Martin, Iceland, Greece, Thailand, Costa Rica, the U.K., France, and many others as "Level 4" locales.
The CDC urges that anyone who absolutely must travel to destinations in the top risk tier should be fully vaccinated before doing so. In their baseline guidance, the health agency still recommends that travelers get their shots before any international trip, regardless of the destination country's risk level. Returning travelers also face reentry restrictions that are still in place, requiring a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of their return flight, regardless of vaccination status.
"Fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to get and spread COVID-19," the agency states on their website. "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."