Last Thursday, the U.S. Department of State lifted the Global Level 4 Health Advisory put in place on March 19, 2020. The blanket advisory urged U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel, citing worldwide impact from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Department of State said that it will replace the cover-all advisory with a return to its previous practice of issuing travel advisories on a country-by-country basis in order to provide travelers with a more detailed overview country-specific of risk.
The Department of State’s newly-released updated travel advisories have labeled Mexico and several Caribbean islands as either Level 3: Reconsider Travel or Level 4: Do Not Travel destinations. These designations likely come as a further blow to travelers already feeling the pinch of widespread travel bans for U.S. travelers. The U.S. is still struggling with the pandemic and currently accounts for approximately 25 percent of the world’s confirmed COVID-19 cases. Mexico and certain islands in the Caribbean are on the shortlist of international destinations still welcoming U.S. travelers.
Last month, Barbados announced that it would begin accepting applications for its new 12-month Welcome Stamp Visa program which allows U.S. citizens to live and work remotely from the island for up to a year. As of August 6, the Department of State includes the island under its ‘Level 3: Reconsider Travel’ designation.
Other islands placed under the Level 3 advisory include Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, Aruba, the Caribbean Netherlands (Bonaire, St. Eustatius, and Saba), St. Maarten, Barbados, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Curacao, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, and the French West Indies (Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Saint Martin, and St. Bart’s).
Additionally, the Bahamas, Belize, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Mexico all remain at the highest advisory, Level 4: Do Not Travel. To date, Mexico has reported over 480,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, though it is suspected that the actual number is much higher due to a lack of testing. Even so, according to data from John Hopkins, Mexico has the third-highest number of confirmed cases in the Americas and the sixth-highest number of cases globally behind the United States, Brazil, India, Russia, and South Africa.
It is worth noting that the State Department’s travel advisory notices aren’t hard restrictions but rather strong suggestions for travelers to take into consideration for possible upcoming travel plans. You can see the full list of travel advisory levels by country on the Travel.State.Gov website.