Jamaica among latest destinations to receive travel warning from CDC

Sep 8, 2021

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s list of “avoid travel” warnings continues to grow, as the agency tells Americans to avoid travel to Jamaica as of Sept. 7 due to increasing case levels of COVID-19.

The CDC also issued Level 4: Very High Level of COVID-19 warnings for Sri Lanka and Brunei on Tuesday.

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“Avoid travel to Jamaica,” the CDC said. “Because of the current situation in Jamaica, even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants.”

The tropical destination popular with American tourists saw huge spikes in COVID-19 case numbers in early March before dipping down throughout most of the summer and then increasing again in August, reporting more than 16,000 new cases. August saw nearly a quarter of Jamaica’s overall COVID-19 cases since Jan. 3, 2020, according to data from the World Health Organization.

The 20-29-year-old age group among its nearly 3 million residents is responsible for the majority of cases, followed by those aged 30-39, per the Jamaican Ministry of Health.

On Sept.1, Prime Minister Andrew Holness extended a countrywide lockdown, instituting “no-movement days” through Sept. 14, requiring workplaces and businesses to close midday, extending a curfew and requiring most residents to stay home, excluding essential travel.

The U.S. Department of State also issued Level 4: Do Not Travel warnings for the three destinations, noting “increased risk for crime” in certain areas of Jamaica, including Kingson and Montego Bay.

Since reopening to tourists on June 15, 2020, Jamaica has continued to allow visitors who possess a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of arrival as well as a completed online travel authorization form. Per the country’s Controlled Entry Programme, tourists are currently restricted to “resilient corridors” during their stay, including lodging accommodations, restaurants and other licensed tourist attractions approved by the Jamaica Tourist Board.

“All travel to and from the attraction must be on transportation licensed under the Tourist Board Act,” says Visit Jamaica.

As of Sept. 8, Jamaica has fully vaccinated nearly 30% of its population. Until Sept. 17, all non-Jamaican citizens who have been in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru, India or Trinidad and Tobago within 14 days of their intended date of entry are prohibited from travel to Jamaica.

Read more: Updated: A country-by-country guide to Caribbean reopenings

The State Department also has a crime warning due to terrorism for Sri Lanka, which reported almost 42,000 cases the week ending Aug. 23, per the WHO. Nearly 30% of people have been vaccinated.

Despite relatively low COVID-19 cases overall, the agencies warned against travel to Brunei, which has recorded fewer than 3,500 total cases and just 13 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Related: CDC issues 7 new travel warnings, including Switzerland

Featured photo of Ocho Rios, Jamaica, by Alanna Johnson/EyeEm/Getty Images.

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