WASHINGTON - The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on March 1 added Curaçao and the island nation of Antigua and Barbuda to its highest advisory considering the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Both popular Caribbean countries now carry a “Level 4: COVID-19 Very High” warning (the CDC’s highest) and Americans are being encouraged to avoid all travel to these destinations. Two other countries — Oman and Sri Lanka — were also added to the list, but Curaçao and Antigua and Barbuda have been popular with sun-seeking American travelers during the pandemic.
The CDC says that both island nations have seen a significant uptick in positive coronavirus cases. Antigua, for example, recorded 508 new cases in the last month alone — more than the entire nation of Singapore, despite having fewer than 100,000 residents. And in the last 30 days, Curaçao saw a rise of over 130 positive cases. Throughout the pandemic, Antigua and Barbuda has recorded a total of 769 cases of COVID-19 and 14 deaths, while Curaçao has recorded more than 4,700 positive cases and 22 deaths, according to a tracker by Johns Hopkins University.
Travelers headed to Curaçao must show a negative result from a certified COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of travel and carry printed documentation. The test is taken no more than 72 hours prior to departure at an accredited laboratory and travelers must upload negative test results to a portal before departure.
Antigua and Barbuda reopened to tourists last June. All travelers over 12 arriving by air need to have a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test taken within seven days of their flight. All travelers are also subject to assessment by Port Health Authorities for signs and symptoms through a series of checks and the completion of a health declaration form upon arrival.
All travelers ages 2 and older traveling to the U.S. from abroad must now also show a negative viral COVID-19 test result taken within three days of departure before being allowed to board their flights. Documented proof from a licensed health care provider of recovery from the virus within the past 90 days will also be accepted.
Many resorts in the Caribbean now offer on-property rapid antigen and PCR tests to guests prior to departure for the U.S., so check your resort’s policy before traveling.
Though the CDC is still recommending that people avoid travel at this time, the agency also has specific recommendations for getting tested before departure; avoiding crowds throughout the travel process; and self-quarantining for seven days after travel, even if you test negative for COVID-19 prior to returning home and again shortly thereafter.
The CDC also says that, once eligible, travelers should get fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and then wait two weeks after getting your second dose to travel.