Although the United States has the highest number of people suffering or killed by the coronavirus (COVID-19), the Trump administration has, ironically, warned US nationals against travelling to several Caribbean countries because of the pandemic.
On Aug. 7, the Atlanta-based US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its travel health notices for several countries in the Caribbean region, placing them under Level Warning 3.
This means US citizens should avoid all nonessential travel to those destinations due to the risk of COVID-19, according to Loop News.
It said the countries include: Montserrat, Belize, Bahamas, St. Lucia, Grenada, Jamaica, Guyana, Haiti, Martinique, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados, St. Maarten, Aruba, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, US Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Curacao, Cuba, Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Bermuda, Antigua and Barbuda, and Anguilla.
The CDC said that if someone gets sick with COVID-19 (or tests positive for COVID-19, even if they have no symptoms) while abroad, “they may be isolated or not be permitted to return to the United States until they have fully recovered from the illness.
“If a person is exposed to COVID-19 while abroad, that person may be quarantined or not be permitted to return to the United States until 14 days after their last exposure,” the CDC said.
Loop News said some Caribbean countries have also been placed under a Watch Level 1.
“This means US travelers should practice usual precautions as over the last 28 days new cases of COVID-19 in these destinations decreased of stabilized,” it said, stating that the islands under this watch include: St. Barthelemy, Saba, St. Eustatius and Bonaire.
Sunday night, Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said he wrote US officials complaining about the decision by Washington to place Dominica and other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries on a list of high-risk countries to be avoided by its nationals because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Let me say to the United States, you know this travel advisory that they issued, sop your ignorance and so forth, if you do not know, call me, call us, we will give you information, but this unnecessary travel advisory (is) based on nothing really,” in a local television program.
“Dominica is one of the top countries in the management of COVID-19, and we are prepared to share our practices with countries like the United States,” Skerrit added. “But this (advisory) is not necessary and if you are saying don’t come to Dominica, what about your country?”
According to the latest figures, as reported by the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC), the United States has recorded 162,000 and 5.05 million infections as a result of the virus, while the worldwide figures are 732,000 deaths and 19.9 million infections since the first case was detected in China last December.
By comparison, it said Dominica has recorded 18 confirmed cases and no deaths.
Only Haiti, Jamaica, the Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago have registered in excess of 200 positive cases and nearly 100 deaths within CARICOM, CMC said.
Skerrit queried why would the United States “want to create this problem between you and the citizens of the Caribbean.
“Why would you tell people don’t come to our country? COVID-19,” he said. “We haven’t had a case in how many months, and everybody who has tested positive in Dominica has survived, including an 85-year-old man with all sets of underlying conditions.
“Let us not be so indifferent to the plight of the developing world and developing countries like Dominica,” Skerrit added. “We do not have the resources that you have, but we have pride in ourselves, and we are a resilient people. We have been through many challenges, and we have survived.
“It is unfortunate that this was done, and I am hoping that the United States would fix this,” the Dominica prime minister continued. “We have written to them formally, objecting to this information.”