The Caribbean and the islands of the North Atlantic Ocean were some of the first regions in the world to reopen to foreign travellers, as these destinations rely heavily on tourism. And they’ve managed to keep their infection rates low with strict mask mandates and quarantine measures. Breaking the rules can even land you in jail. But what does that mean for tourism? Namely with it being clear why the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging travelers to stay home and the U.K. remains under lockdown. Here’s what you need to know about the Caribbean islands with the lowest COVID-19 infection rates.
Caribbean Islands with the lowest infection rates
Unsurprisingly, the islands that have kept the coronavirus at bay have several things in common: low populations, remote locations and few direct flights connecting them to the U.S. In fact, five islands in the Caribbean have recorded no deaths at all. The combined islands that make up the Caribbean Netherlands — Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius — have recorded just three deaths. Below, The Points Guy compiles the 10 islands with the lowest COVID-19 rates (lumping the Caribbean Netherlands together). The positive rate data comes from the CDC, while positive cases and deaths are pulled from Johns Hopkins University, which has tracked the spread of the novel coronavirus.
While many Caribbean nations have been largely spared from the virus, that doesn’t mean you should immediately plan your next holiday there. In fact, you might not even be allowed to go. Even some islands with the lowest positive rates, including Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, now carry “Level 4: Very high” warnings from the CDC — which means Americans should avoid all travel. Although not an island, the Caribbean nation of Belize is also under a Level 4 warning by the CDC.
Because the region is so dependent on tourism, it has had to adapt to serve travellers despite the ongoing pandemic. One way it did so is by offering tests to travelers returning to the U.S. Depending on where you’re headed in the region, you may be required to quarantine or show negative a coronavirus test to opt-out of isolation. Many islands also require travellers to fill out a health declaration form before arrival. For instance, the only way to avoid a 10-day quarantine in Bonaire (at your own cost) is to present proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken 72 hours before arrival.
Cases around the world are beginning to drop; while much of the Caribbean has been spared from the grim numbers we’ve seen elsewhere, the stakes there are much higher.