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CDC Warns Americans Not To Travel To Trinidad, Regardless Of Vaccination Status

PORT OF SPAIN — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is advising against travel to the twin-island Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago, regardless of vaccination status.

In Europe, Poland also made the list along with Niger in Africa and Papua New Guinea in Oceania.

The four destinations were moved to the CDC’s “level 4” COVID-19 advisory list, which includes destinations the agency believes should be avoided by U.S. travelers. Travelers who “must” travel to these destinations should be fully vaccinated, the CDC says.

The shift comes as the world grapples with the latest COVID-19 variant, omicron, which was announced as a “variant of concern” on Friday. None of the countries the CDC moved to “level 4” have reported cases of the new variant within their borders as of Tuesday. 

The CDC looks at a variety of data when determining which travel health notice level to assign a country, including new case counts and testing rates. 

According to data from the World Health Organization, Poland has reported more than 162,000 new cases the week of Nov. 22, up 15% from the week prior. 

Trinidad and Tobago, located off the coast of Venezuela, reported more than 4,000 cases the week of November 22, up 22 percent from the week prior, while Niger, located in western Africa, reported a 33 percent increase in cases, according to WHO. Papua New Guinea reported a 61 percent drop in cases the week of November 22 but a five percent increase in reported deaths linked to the virus. 

By John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.