CDC Warns Americans Not to Travel to Jamaica

A sign marks the entrance to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. [Associated Press]

With the third wave of COVID-19 causing a breakdown of Jamaica’s healthcare sector, United States’ top public health agency, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned Americans not to travel to the island.

Jamaica is now among the highest-risk COVID-19 destinations in the world for travelers, according to the CDC’s travel advisories list, which was updated on September 7th. Also on the high-risk list is Sri Lanka and the nation of Brunei on the island of Borneo.

With the new “Level 4: Covid-19 Very High” notice, the CDC stated, “avoid travel to Jamaica. If you must travel to Jamaica, make sure you are fully vaccinated before travel.” Level 4 is the highest COVID-19 ranking.

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The CDC categorizes countries on the Level 4 list of they have had more than 500 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days.

Jamaica, which has a population of roughly 3 million people, had over 20,000 cases for the month of August – close to 700 cases per 100,000 residents. In the first five days of September, the country had over 3,500 new cases compared to 3,081 for the entire month of July.

The country has also been in a series of curfews since late August with “no-movement” days in hopes of slowing the virus’ spread.

But despite the warning, the Ministry of Tourism said they are not panicking.

“We are joining roughly 80 other countries including many of our Caribbean neighbors. We have been here before and Americans still come. Our Resilient Corridor remains very safe. Hopefully, once we get a hold of our [COVID-19] numbers, we will be better categorized like before,” said Delano Seiveright, senior advisor in Jamaica’s Ministry of Tourism.

The United States isn’t the only country that has advised against travel to Jamaica.

Last week, the Foreign Office (FCDO) warned travelers in the United Kingdom not to travel to Jamaica due to a rise in COVID-19 cases. The FCDO updated its guidance last Saturday to advise against all non-essential travel to Jamaica. As a result, TUI, one of UK’s largest tour operators, canceled all flights to the island until September 11.