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Island of Martinique
Christophe | Adobe Stock

This Popular Destination Just Kicked out Tourists Because of COVID-19

SmarterTravel

French overseas territory Martinique has seen a huge spike in COVID-19 cases recently, overwhelming the island’s hospitals. This rising infection rate has caused the popular vacation destination to go into a strict three-week lockdown. The Martinique government has also asked all tourists to leave the territory immediately.

Stanislas Cazelles, the prefect for Martinique, encouraged “all vulnerable tourists to leave the territory”. Hotels and vacation rentals will be closed immediately (except to Martinique residents), and all cultural and leisure facilities (including beaches) will be closed to everyone. A territory-wide curfew has been put into place from 7 p.m to 5 a.m. You can read full details of the new travel advisory here.

French President Emmanuel Macron blamed the wave of infections on the low vaccination rate in Martinique, stating, “On these territories the vaccination is still at a very low rate, a third that of mainland France. Just 20 percent of people over the age of 12 are double vaccinated compared with 66 percent in mainland France…If we needed proof that the vaccination is the best response to the (faster-spreading) Delta variant, unfortunately these places have provided, if I can put it this way, a cruel proof.”

Martinique’s new lockdown is an important reminder for travelers to closely monitor the situation at their destination before traveling, and to potentially reconsider visiting if COVID-19 cases are extremely high. To find the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 rates in countries around the world, you can consult the CDC’s Travel Health Notices page, which categorizes destinations based on the COVID-19 risk level.

Travelers may also want to consider booking fully refundable airfare and hotels (or getting travel insurance) in case of situations like this one.

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