10 new countries receive highest travel warnings from US government, including Belize and Israel
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The list of countries with travel warnings due to increasing case numbers of COVID-19 continues to grow, as the U.S. government issued guidance against 10 new counties on Sept. 13, including St. Kitts and Nevis, Belize and Israel.
Slovenia, Serbia, Mauritius, Lithuania, Guatemala, Grenada and Albania also received Level 4 warnings from both the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Department of State to suggest American travelers think twice before traveling to any of the highlighted countries due to “very high levels of COVID-19” and increased crime in half of the locations.
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The CDC says to “make sure you are fully vaccinated before travel” to any of the Level 4 countries, which have had a minimum of 500 cases of COVID-19 per 100,00 residents in the past 28 days. Some of the included nations, Belize for example, have barely surpassed the weekly case number threshold since Aug. 16, including nine days where they recorded zero cases (Aug. 16, 17, 23, 24, 30 and Sept. 6, 7, 12, 13) per data from the World Health Organization.
Then there are warnings for some countries, such as Afghanistan, that are a direct reflection of ongoing turmoil.
“Do not travel to Afghanistan due to civil unrest, armed conflict, crime, terrorism, kidnapping, and COVID-19,” says the State Department. “Travel to all areas of Afghanistan is unsafe. The Department of State assesses the risk of kidnapping or violence against U.S. citizens in Afghanistan is high.”
After withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul suspended operations on Aug. 31, but “continue(s) to assist U.S. citizens and their families in Afghanistan from Doha, Qatar.”
Similarly, Israel has received the highest travel warnings from both agencies despite having one of the highest vaccination rates among its residents in the world, with 63% and over 5 million people as of Sept. 13, according to Our World in Data. Even so, the country recorded record case numbers for most of the summer, including a high of nearly 70,000 cases for the week ending Aug. 30, per data from the WHO.
Other places have received warnings tied to the development of COVID-19, including many island nations that have been hit particularly hard by lost tourism due to the pandemic, such as the Caribbean.
Of the 105 current “Do Not Travel” State Department advisories, 13 of them are for Caribbean nations, including the two issued this week for Grenada and St. Kitts and Nevis. In addition, existing Level 4 warnings are in place for Jamaica, St. Lucia, the Bahamas, Sint Maarten, Haiti, Dominica, Aruba, Cuba, Curacao, the French West Indies (Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint-Martin and St. Barts) and the British Virgin Islands. Just three of them include additional safety concerns from the State Department (Jamaica, the Bahamas and Haiti).
Since the start of the pandemic, St. Kitts and Nevis has recorded fewer than 1,500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and six deaths, according to the WHO. Likewise, there have been just over 2,200 cases in Dominica with only six deaths, and 2,600 cases and 37 deaths in the BVI.
Featured photo of St. Kitts by tillsonburg via Getty Images.
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