Coronavirus: CDC adds island destinations to ‘high risk’ category for travel

WASHINGTON — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its travel advisories for people heading to tropical islands, moving Jamaica, Anguilla and the Turks and Caicos Islands to “Level 3.”

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In April, the CDC overhauled its risk assessment system for travel, placing destinations in to one of four categories: level 3, high risk for COVID-19; level 2, moderate risk for COVID-19; level 1, no risk for COVID-19; and unknown, not enough data to assess risk, CNN reported at the time.

There is a level 4, but it is reserved only for special circumstances, such as a new variant or extremely high case counts, CNN reported. There are currently no countries listed at level 4.

Level 3 now includes Anguilla, Jamaica and the Turks and Caicos Islands, along with a number of other countries previously listed at level 3, including South Africa, the Bahamas and most of Europe.

The CDC recommends ensuring you are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines before traveling to any level 3 country, and suggests avoiding travel if you are not vaccinated.

CNN’s medical analyst, Dr. Leana Wen, suggests weighing other factors before travel in addition to the CDC guidelines.

“Another is what precautions are required and followed in the place that you’re going, and then the third is what are you planning to do once you’re there,” Wen told CNN. “Are you planning to visit a lot of attractions and go to indoor bars? That’s very different from going somewhere where you’re planning to lie on the beach all day and not interact with anyone else. That’s very different. Those are very different levels of risk.”