CDC lowers travel warnings for covid in Canada, Jamaica

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is no longer warning Americans to avoid travel to Canada because of the coronavirus.

In an update to its travel health notices Monday, the public health agency said the level of covid-19 in the country is “high” rather than “very high” and that Americans should be up to date on their coronavirus vaccinations before visiting. That places Canada at a Level 3 on a warning system that goes from 1 to 4; it had been at Level 4 since Jan. 10.

On Friday, Canada dropped its coronavirus testing requirement for fully vaccinated visitors. According to tracking data compiled by The Washington Post, 83 percent of the country’s population has completed a full vaccination series.

Other popular tourist destinations that the CDC lowered from Level 4 to Level 3 risks Monday include Antigua, Argentina, Belize, St. Lucia and Panama.

They were among 25 countries and territories that were designated at lower-risk categories for the virus as cases ease in parts of the world. South Africa and the Dominican Republic, which had previously had high levels of covid-19, moved to Level 2, meaning the coronavirus risk is moderate.

Jamaica and Morocco are now Level 1 countries with low levels of covid-19.

For the second week in a row, no new countries were added to the highest risk level. Nearly 100 destinations are in the Level 4 category, including the United Kingdom, Greece, France, Italy, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Hong Kong. A month ago, more than 130 destinations were at the highest level.

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CDC removes pandemic-era travel warnings for cruises

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention dropped cruise voyages from its list of coronavirus travel health notices Wednesday, the latest barrier to fall for an industry seeking a semblance of pre-pandemic norms. Cruise lines still require passengers to be vaccinated and test negative before boarding.

The CDC issues its notices “to alert travelers and other audiences to health threats around the world,” ranking destinations between Levels 1 and 4 based on the number and trajectory of new cases. It had included notices for cruise ships since March 2020, when cruise lines stopped sailing from U.S. waters for more than a year.

“CDC’s decision to remove the travel health notice for cruise travel was based on the current state of the pandemic and overall decreases in COVID-19 cases onboard cruise ships over the past several weeks,” CDC spokesman David Daigle said in an email.

The Cruise Lines International Association said earlier this year that it was “dismayed” that the CDC still published any kind of travel health notice for cruise ships. The association cheered the CDC decision Wednesday, saying it “recognizes the effective public health measures in place on cruise ships and begins to level the playing field, between cruise and similarly situated venues on land, for the first time since March 2020.”

CDC lowers coronavirus warnings for cruise ships and popular Caribbean islands

Roger Frizzell, a spokesman for industry giant Carnival Corp., called the move an “important step forward.” Newcomer Virgin Voyages said in a statement that the CDC’s removal of the notice “demonstrates the transition back into pre-pandemic operations” for the industry.

“While we feel this was a long time coming, we recognize this move as a demonstration of all of the hard work this industry has done to ensure that we’re offering the safest way to travel,” Virgin Voyages chief executive Tom McAlpin said in the statement. “It’s refreshing to see them meet us where we’re at, and clearly where our consumers are at considering the major uptick in demand we’ve seen.”

During the omicron surge in December, the public health agency warned that even vaccinated people should avoid cruises because the risk of catching the coronavirus was very high. As the wave subsided, the CDC eased its language, finally declaring earlier this month that the covid-19 risk was “moderate” and recommending that people be up to date with coronavirus vaccines before taking a cruise.

The CDC still urges travelers to be up to date with coronavirus vaccinations before taking a cruise, and it recommends that those who are immunocompromised or at increased risk of severe illness from the virus talk to their doctor about taking additional precautions.

“The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads easily between people in close quarters on board ships,” the agency’s website says. “If the virus is spreading on board a cruise ship, passengers and crew are at risk for infection, even if they are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines.”

Bare rooms, rotten fruit and boredom: Quarantine life on infected cruises

Through a voluntary program, the CDC displays the vaccination status and color status — indicating whether there are reported coronavirus cases on board — of participating cruise ships. Out of 107 ships sailing in U.S. waters, all but one are participating in the program.

Wednesday’s tally shows that while the number of cases has decreased significantly, cruise ships are still not coronavirus-free. As of Tuesday, 34 ships had reported enough coronavirus cases to meet the threshold for a CDC investigation; another 35 had reported cases, but the number was not high enough to merit an investigation.

Daigle said the agency would continue to evaluate its cruise program and the need for a travel health notice for cruises as the pandemic evolves.

“While cruising will always pose some risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers will make their own risk assessment when choosing to travel on an individual cruise ship, much like they do in all other travel settings,” he wrote in the email. “CDC recommends travelers check their cruise ship’s color status and vaccination status to make an informed decision before traveling on a cruise ship.”

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CDC lowers coronavirus warnings for cruise travel, popular Caribbean islands

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday moved several popular beach destinations — as well as cruise ship travel — into categories at lower risk of spreading the coronavirus.

The public health agency reassigned travel warnings for nine vacation destinations in the Caribbean and Atlantic from Level 4 — which means a “very high” level of covid-19 — to Level 3, which means the level of the virus is merely “high.” They include Cuba, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sint Maarten, the British Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic and the Turks and Caicos.

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Kokua Line: Where are the international travel warnings?

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Spain holiday warning: Canary Islands face weather warnings this weekend | Travel News | Travel

The State Meteorological Agency (AEMET) has activated weather warnings for adverse sea conditions. The warning affects Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, La Palma and El Hierro.

On March 13, the AEMET weather warning will also cover northern Tenerife and Gran Canaria.

The forecast shows that strong northwest winds will bring very strong gusts on Monday and Tuesday.

The more mountainous islands will have rainfall throughout the week, however, scientists are reportedly worried about the lack of rainfall on the islands.

Lanzarote and Fuerteventura have had 75 percent less rain than usual according to scientists.

READ MORE: Expats: Cheapest city in Australia for expats named – ‘wonderful’

Other areas of Spain including tourist hotspots Ibiza and Mallorca, have experienced a wet winter with heavier rainfall than usual.

The Costa del Sol is likely to experience rainfall in the coming week as well after a period of drought.

The rainfall in areas such as Malaga and Granada could be very heavy and flood warnings have been issued for some areas.

The director of Aemet said: “It will help to ease the drought situation, but will not be enough to resolve it.”


British tourists travelling to Spain will need to be fully vaccinated unless they have recently recovered from Covid.

If their second jab was more than 270 days ago, they will need to have a booster to travel to Spain.

British teenagers aged between 12-17 will need to take a PCR test 72 hours before travel if they are not vaccinated.

Covid restrictions are in place in some Spanish destinations including a ban on dancing in the Canary Islands.

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CDC adds ‘do not travel’ warnings for 15 countries including more popular Caribbean destinations

CDC adds ‘do not travel’ warnings for 15 countries including more popular Caribbean destinations

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Millions remain under blizzard warnings as nor’easter pummels the Northeast

Across the Northeast, roughly 16 million people were under some type of winter weather alert Saturday night. Of those, seven million were under blizzard warnings.

Blizzard warnings are expected to remain in effect through Sunday morning for eastern Massachusetts and most of Maine.

A blizzard, by the National Weather Service’s definition, requires blowing or falling snow, winds of at least 35 miles per hour, and visibility of a quarter-mile or less for at least three hours.

Light to moderate snowfall will continue into the evening, with snow expected to end in the eastern part of Massachusetts by 11 p.m., the governor’s office said.

Parts of eastern Massachusetts, Long Island and Rhode Island saw more than two feet of snow and blizzard conditions, and a few areas in Massachusetts saw hurricane-force wind gusts, with Cape Cod getting the strongest gales.

The town of Sharon, Massachusetts, recorded a staggering 30.4 inches of snowfall by Saturday night, according to the National Weather Service.

Boston’s Logan Airport had recorded at least 23.3 inches of snow by Saturday night, according to the National Weather Service, making Saturday the snowiest January day Boston has recorded. The previous record was set on January 27, 2015, when the city received 22.1 inches of snow.

Boston could also soon beat its all-time one-day snowfall record of 23.6 inches, which was set on February 17, 2003.

“This is coming down hard and fast, and so it’s been historic,” Boston Mayor Michelle Wu told CNN Saturday evening.

Strong winds pushed seawater ashore in parts of coastal Massachusetts and elsewhere earlier in the day, causing some street flooding.
Some governments in the Northeast banned vehicle travel for parts of the day, including Rhode Island through midnight, with a tractor-trailer ban in place until midnight.

“Hunker down for 24 hours, and sometime tomorrow, you’ll be able to go back out and resume some of your normal activities,” Tom Guthlein, Rhode Island’s acting director of emergency management, said early Saturday.

Some areas crush snowfall records

In New Jersey’s Atlantic City, howling wind whipped snow sideways earlier Saturday, and a CNN crew there could barely see anything a block away. The city crushed its all-time January snowfall record by Saturday, reaching a staggering monthly total of 33.2 inches of snow. It had received about 19.2 inches prior to the storm and added another 14 inches Saturday, CNN meteorologist Gene Norman said Saturday afternoon. The prior monthly record of 20.3 inches was set in January 1987.

Live updates: Nor'easter slams the Northeast

The city’s 14 inches of snow Saturday also beat its previous record for the calendar date, which was set in 2014 at 7.3 inches.

As the storm pummeled through, several other areas crushed previous January 29 snowfall records, including New York’s Central Park, which recorded 7.3 inches, beating the previous record of 4.7 inches set in 1904, and Philadelphia, which saw 5.8 inches of snow Saturday, beating the previous record of 5 inches, also set in 1904.

Up to 2 feet of snow could fall by Sunday morning from Long Island through Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine, CNN forecasters said.

The storm became a “bomb cyclone” Saturday morning, meaning the storm strengthened rapidly and had the barometric pressure drop more than 24 millibars within 24 hours, the Weather Prediction Center said.
More than 3,580 flights within, into or out of the US were canceled Saturday, according to FlightAware, and more than a thousand are already canceled for Sunday.
Major airlines offered waivers to passengers impacted by the storm, including Delta, which offered travel waivers to passengers planning to fly out of 28 airports across the East Coast this weekend and United, which said it will waive change fees and any difference in fare for flights departing on or before February 2, involving 26 locations along the coast.
American Airlines and Southwest also announced options for passengers whose plans were spoiled by the severe weather conditions.

Power outages in Massachusetts, with street flooding along coasts

In some parts of the East Coast, strong winds led to power outages.

Here's how to drive safely on ice and snow
More than 88,000 customers in Massachusetts were without power as of 8:36 p.m. Saturday, according to
With winds pushing seawater ashore, some streets flooded in Massachusetts’ Martha’s Vineyard on Saturday morning, CNN affiliate WCVB reported.

On Nantucket, floodwater covered Easy Street and lapped up against some homes Saturday morning, video recorded by Blair Perkins showed.

High winds and snow pushed over several trees across the island while some areas were out of power because of downed wires, Nantucket Fire Chief Stephen Murphy told CNN on Saturday afternoon. Several roadways were also closed because of flooding, the chief said.

“We do have coastal flooding when we get these kinds of storms, but today was pretty intense,” Jason Graziadei, an editor at the local newsletter Nantucket Current, told CNN on Saturday afternoon. “People (are) kind of just hunkering down out here.”

Scituate, a coastal Massachusetts town southeast of Boston, had some mild to moderate flooding at high tide Saturday morning, with water splashing over seawalls, town administrator Jim Boudreau told CNN.

High winds reached more than 70 mph, Boudreau said Saturday afternoon.

“When you have wind like that with the snow, the snow is almost like needles coming down hitting people,” he said. “Visibility has been near zero, we’re plowing the roads as quickly as we can, as fast as we get the snow off the roads the wind is blowing it back in.”

In Marshfield, another coastal Massachusetts town, about 4 feet of water came over the seawall at high tide, town administrator Michael A. Maresco told CNN.

More coastal flooding is possible, forecasters warned. Parts of Massachusetts and Long Island were under coastal flood advisories.

In Quincy, a city just south of Boston, the mayor warned people to stay indoors, saying even snowplow operators wouldn’t be able to drive when the snowfall is heaviest.

“There’s no way plows are going to operate when they can’t see in front of their face,” Mayor Thomas Koch told CNN Saturday. “Even after the storm is done, we’ll be plowing for many hours afterward, to keep up with the wind blowing it.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation issued a travel ban for large trucks on interstate highways for Saturday because of the severe winter weather forecast.

The travel ban took effect Saturday morning and will go through midnight for tractor trailer trucks, tandems and special permit haulers,” MassDOT said.

Rhode Island Gov. Daniel McKee declared a state of emergency ahead of the storm and told CNN Saturday afternoon the state is expecting to record some of its highest snow accumulation totals through the storm.

The blizzard-like conditions led Amtrak to cancel train service on Saturday for various lines, including Acela service between Washington, DC, and Boston as well as regional service between Boston and New York, the company said Friday.

Snow piles up fast on Long Island and in New Jersey

The governors of New York and New Jersey also declared states of emergency.

As a precaution, all Long Island Rail Road service was suspended Saturday morning, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said.

Snow was accumulating fast Saturday on Long Island. More than 24 inches were reported near Long Island MacArthur Airport by Saturday night.

Snowplow crews will work throughout Saturday night in Suffolk County on Long Island, but freezing temperatures and lingering snowfall will complicate efforts to clear the roads into Sunday, County Executive Steve Bellone said.

In Nassau County, where officials said snowfall totals ranged from 10 to 18 inches, County Executive Bruce Blakeman said Saturday strong wind gusts were expected later in the evening, and urged residents to stay home.

“Snow is dangerous, but wind is more dangerous,” Blakeman said, adding there had been more than 50 car accidents by Saturday morning but roads later in the day remained virtually empty besides snowplows.

“If everybody stays off the roads, lets our workers do their job, by noon tomorrow I think we’ll have this under control, and I think the roads will be a lot safer,” he said.

In New Jersey, the Jersey Shore was “getting clobbered,” Gov. Phil Murphy said late Saturday morning. About 21 inches were reported in coastal Bayville by Saturday night.

He asked residents to be patient and stay off covered roads.

“It’ll take us a few days to dig out of this one, and that’s probably what’s the realistic scenario,” Murphy said.

A man walks on a snow-covered street in Boston on Saturday morning.

Maryland, Virginia, the Carolinas and elsewhere

The governors of Maryland and Virginia issued states of emergency in their states.

By Saturday evening, parts of coastal Virginia received at least nine inches, and coastal parts of Maryland and Delaware received more than 12 inches.

Parts of interior North Carolina and South Carolina got more than 2 inches of snow, with higher amounts in North Carolina’s mountains.

Portions of Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia also have received more than 4 inches of snow.

CNN’s Brynn Gingras, Brian Todd, Artemis Moshtaghian, Liam Reilly, Tyler Mauldin, David Williams, Haley Brink and Melissa Alonso contributed to this report.

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Travel warnings issued for North Dakota

FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) – The North Dakota Department of Transportation is warning people about potentially dangerous road conditions.

NDDOT issued a Travel Alert for most of eastern North Dakota including the counties of Grand Forks, Cass, Stutsman, Ramsey and Richland to name a few.

A Travel Alert means people can still legally drive on the roads but conditions will likely change rapidly and could be dangerous.

To see the full list of counties impacted by the Travel Alert and the current road conditions, find the NDDOT maps here and the MNDOT maps here.

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