WASHINGTON, D.C.--The United States (US) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a level three travel warning for St. Maarten on Thursday. The advisory recommends American travellers to avoid all non-essential travel to the country due to the high-risk of contracting coronavirus.
St. Maarten’s warning came as CDC and the US State Department lifted global advisories recommending US citizens to avoid all international travel because of the coronavirus pandemic, and instead issued a raft of high-level warnings for individual countries.
“With health and safety conditions improving in some countries and potentially deteriorating in others, the department is returning to our previous system of country-specific levels of travel advice,” the US State Department said in a statement lifting its “Do Not Travel” advisory.
Nearly all countries remain on CDC’s level three advisory to avoid all non-essential travel, including some reportedly coronavirus-free territories, such as Anguilla. A few countries, including Thailand, New Zealand and Fiji, were put on a low-risk level one advisory.
CDC’s warning to St. Maarten comes only five days after the country reopened to travellers from the US and amid a rapid increase in coronavirus cases on the island. As of Wednesday, there are a total of 80 active cases on the Dutch side and 16 on the French side. The reopening was marked by official visits from high-ranking government officials and tourism stakeholders to witness the arrival of the first US flight at Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA).
“COVID-19 risk in St. Maarten is high. CDC recommends travellers avoid all nonessential international travel to St. Maarten. Some examples of essential travel may include traveling for humanitarian aid work, medical reasons, or family emergencies.
“Older adults, people of any age with certain underlying medical conditions, and others at increased risk for severe illness should consider postponing all travel, including essential travel, to St. Maarten.
“If you get sick in St. Maarten and need medical care, resources may be limited,” said CDC on Thursday.