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By NAN Staff Writer

News Americas, WASHINGTON, D.C., Weds. Sept. 22, 2021: The US State Department and the Centers for Disease Control, (CDC), is now warning against travel to 7 Caribbean countries, with three more added Tuesday.

The US added Guyana, Bermuda and Antigua & Barbuda to its Level Four advisory list of “Do Not Travel” Caribbean nations. They add to the four others that were slapped with the advisory last week due to COVID-19 spikes in their countries. They are Jamaica, St. Kitts & Nevis, Belize and Grenada.

As of today, Jamaica has reported 80,780 COVID-19 infections while Guyana has 29,824 and Belize has 18,902. Bermuda has reported 4,632 cases while Grenada has 4,356; Antigua & Barbuda, 2,603, and St. Kitts and Nevis has 1,680.

The updated advisory on the 7 Caribbean countries, most of which are tourism dependent, comes as Vanessa Ledesma, Acting CEO and Director General of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), said that there has been no indication that the increase in travel to the region over the past several months has contributed to any significant spread of the virus.

“According to contact tracing analysis provided by several of the region’s destinations which are monitoring this, the level of COVID-19 transmission between residents and visitors has been negligible,” said Ledesma, who added that testing of departing travelers returning to major source markets has shown insignificant positivity rates.

The travel trade association veteran believes that travel warnings based on COVID-19 positivity levels can be misleading. “We have gone to great lengths to produce the safest possible corridors in our tourism-related communities,” she assured, adding that “Caribbean travel is safe and continues to get safer.”

Ledesma shared that the Caribbean’s commitment to health safety started long before the beginning of the pandemic, and its multi-agency collaborative approach helped to jumpstart the training of nearly 8,000 of the region’s tourism industry supervisors, managers and owners.

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