Spiking COVID-19 numbers land Antigua and Barbuda on the CDC’s list of high-risk countries once again

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has placed Antigua and Barbuda on its list of destinations that present a high risk for COVID-19.

Although COVID-19 restrictions have been relaxed in many countries, including the United States, the CDC maintains a list of countries classified into four levels of severity: Low, Moderate, High and Special Circumstances/Do Not Travel.

With 161 current cases and 138 deaths on record, Antigua and Barbuda was added to the High list on Monday, May 16, along with three other destinations: Lesotho, South Africa and Taiwan.

The High category is the largest of the groups, comprising 110 countries.

Reports say the list also includes a designation for “COVID-19 Unknown,” which is currently applied to 52 countries.

Antigua and Barbuda has been placed on the CDC’s high-risk list before, and the designation often affects travel here.

With the country already in Carnival-celebration mode – after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic – many people, including returning nationals, have already made plans to return home for the festivities in July/August.

Most of these visitors will come from the United States, which has reached one million deaths from the virus, according to the CDC report on Monday.  

It was reported that “the COVID-19 death count continues to rise in the U.S., which has seen more deaths per capita than neighbouring Canada or countries in Western Europe.”

It notes, however, that “the rate of fatalities has fallen significantly as vaccines, a new treatment pill from Pfizer known as Paxlovid, and recent variants have reduced the risks of the virus.”