The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has added two popular Caribbean islands to its highest advisory (Level 4: COVID-19 Very High) ahead of spring break.
Antigua and Barbuda and the Dutch Caribbean island Curaçao were both added to the list of countries American travelers should avoid due to a positive uptick in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks.
The two islands join other popular tourist destinations in the Caribbean that share the highest warning, including Mexico and Saint Lucia, all of which are welcoming American tourists.
What Does Level 4 Mean?
Though the CDC is still recommending that people avoid all travel at this time, the agency does continually update its country-by-country list by risk level.
Level 4 is the CDC’s highest warning. It means that the COVID-19 risk is very high and travelers should avoid travel to these destinations.
To determine a country’s designation, the CDC uses COVID-19 data from the World Health Organization as well as incidence rates and new case trajectories.
The CDC’s Level 4 list currently includes more than 150 other countries and territories, including the United States. Oman and Sri Lanka were also added to the list of high-risk countries this week.
Travel in Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda was one of the first Caribbean nations to welcome back visitors, opening its borders to international tourists in June 2020.
The country enjoyed low COVID infection rates for many months until early February, when numbers started to rise. It has recorded 508 new cases in the last month alone. According to the John Hopkins University tracker, Antigua and Barbuda have recorded a total of 813 cases of COVID-19 and 21 deaths.
Antigua and Barbuda is still open for international tourism. Travelers from all countries are allowed to enter under regular visa requirements but must have proof of negative results from a PCR test, taken no longer than 7 days before arrival.
All tourists visiting during the pandemic will be required to stay at authorized hotels and inns; otherwise, they are subject to a 14-day quarantine.
Antigua has a curfew in effect from 6 pm to 5 am and restaurants are only open for take-out. Bars are currently closed.
Travel in Curaçao
Curaçao started welcoming tourists in June 2020, adding more countries to the list in July, and finally opening to all countries on January 1st, 2021.
According to the John Hopkins University tracker, Curaçao has recorded more than 4,700 positive cases and 22 deaths.
Curaçao is still open for tourism. All travelers must fill out a digital immigration card and passenger locator card. Travelers from high-risk countries must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken at a maximum of 72 hours prior to departure from an accredited laboratory.
Curaçao is also asking travelers to have sufficient insurance coverage for the duration of their stay.
Which Caribbean Islands Are Not On the Level 4 List?
The CDC still has several Caribbean islands listed on lower risk-levels, some of which are open to American tourists.
Level 1 (COVID-19 Low): Anguilla, Saint Kitts and Nevis, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Sint Eustatius, and Saba.
Level 2 (COVID-19 Moderate): Dominica and Grenada
Level 3 (COVID-19 High): The Bahamas, Montserrat, and Trinidad and Tobago
Returning to the U.S. from the Caribbean
The CDC requires that all international travelers present a negative COVID-19 test before returning to the U.S.
Many resorts in the Caribbean are now offering on-property rapid antigen and PCR tests to guests prior to departure for the U.S.
The CDC also recommends travelers get tested 3-5 days after travel and stay home and self-quarantine for 7 days.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories