According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), five Caribbean locations now have a Level 4 travel advisory in relation to COVID-19. Level 4 is the highest risk category, defined as “very high risk.”
These are the Caribbean destinations that entered the Level 4 category:
- Dominican Republic
- Saint Barthélemy
- Saint Martin
Several other Caribbean areas, including nations with coastlines that border the Caribbean, have been at Level 4 for a while:
- The Bahamas
- The British Virgin Islands
- Costa Rica
- Turks and Caicos
The CDC has stated that travelers should avoid visiting high-risk countries.
Any destination with 500 or more cases per 100,000 people qualifies for the Level 4 category. Many countries have reached those numbers, largely because of the high transmissibility of the omicron variant.
Twenty-two such locations entered the Level 4 category last week. In addition to the Caribbean areas, the following destinations are now deemed very high risk:
- United Arab Emirates
However, some observers outside the CDC wonder if these travel advisories are necessary. Though the locations in question do have high rates of COVID-19, so does the U.S.
The country reported over a million new cases on Jan. 18 and Jan. 24. In aggregate, the U.S. currently has more than 500 cases per 100,000 citizens — meaning that the nation itself qualifies for a Level 4 risk category.
The CDC’s recommendations also go beyond Level 4 countries; the organization advises that unvaccinated Americans shouldn’t leave the country at all unless necessary.
Worldwide, COVID-19 cases started a steep rise in late December. On Jan. 24, over 3.5 million new cases were reported.
However, death rates haven’t risen much. So far, omicron seems to be significantly milder than earlier strains.