CDC: ‘Travelers should avoid all travel to Puerto Rico’
The Centers for Disease Control issued a warning over the weekend, telling people to avoid all travel to Puerto Rico, “as it may increase your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19.”
The agency placed Puerto Rico on the highest level of threat of contagion — level four — where the incidence rate is more than 100 cases per 100,000 people reported over the past 28 days. The CDC also uses hospitalization rates and cumulative testing positivity rate as its criteria to rank a destination or jurisdiction.
On Sunday, the Puerto Rico Health Department reported five deaths, 957 confirmed cases, 101 possible cases and 886 additional suspected cases of COVID-19. When tallied, Puerto Rico has reported 1,017 total deaths since the pandemic started in mid-March.
In its warning, the agency said, “staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.”
“Airports, bus stations, train stations, and rest stops are all places travelers can be exposed to the virus. These are also places where it can be hard to social distance. If you travel, take steps before, during, and after travel to keep yourself and others from getting COVID-19,” the CDC said, outlining a number of steps to take prior, during and after traveling to Puerto Rico.
Since mid-March, the majority of visitors arriving to Puerto Rico have done so through the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, which last week announced it has invested about $1 million since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to develop and implement health practices and protocols through which it garnered the Airport Health Accreditation from Airports Council International, as this media outlet reported.
The 12-month accreditation was granted in recognition of the prevention plan that the airport’s operator, Aerostar Airport Holdings, LLC, established and makes the Puerto Rico airport the third in a U.S. jurisdiction to receive this distinction, airport officials said.
The majority of passengers traveling to Puerto Rico come from Florida and New York, and upon arriving at the LMM are required to provide documents certifying that they are COVID-19-free.
The CDC’s critical warning also comes a few days after destination marketing organization Discover Puerto Rico, confirmed it has been promoting Puerto Rico as “an ideal remote work destination for Americans on the mainland looking for an escape, while they continue their corporate duties.”
It also presented a survey confirming that consumers “remain in an elevated state of anxiety, showing that excitement levels about taking a getaway in the next month and openness to travel inspiration decreased, while perceptions of travel activities as unsafe are increasing.”