US Travel Advisories vs The Caribbean

Image of airport terminal
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The U.S. State Department announced on Monday that it would be updating its advisories to align with those from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This change would result in a significant increase in the number of countries at Level 4: Do Not Travel, to approximately 80% of countries worldwide (Source: CNN)

What does this look like in the context of the Caribbean? Let’s find out! But first, I define the Caribbean as consisting of member and associate member states of CARICOM:

  1. Defining the questions:
    1. Which CARICOM countries are now at Level 1, 2, 3 and 4?
    2. What percentage of CARICOM countries are at Level 1, 2, 3 and 4?
  2. When a country is assigned a level, there’s information associated with it (i.e., the advisory). There’s an excerpt of the advisory and viewers can click a link to get further details. For example, Barbados is at Level 4: Do Not Travel. The date of the advisory is April 20, 2021. The opening line of the advisory reads “Do not travel to Barbados due to COVID-19.” That’s it, there is nothing more (unless you click for more details). However, other countries at Level 4 (for example, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and Haiti among others) mention Covid-19 as well as other factors in their opening lines. This made we wonder:
    1. Which CARICOM country advisories mention Covid-19 alone, and Covid-19 plus other factors in the opening lines of their respective advisories?
  3. Collecting the data – The U.S. State Department’s website was the source of my information. I visited their website, searched for each CARICOM country, made a note of the Advisory Level, as well as the opening sentence of the advisory. Observations were then keyed into Excel.
  4. Cleaning the data – While no significant amount of data cleaning was required, I did code the opening lines of the advisories as follows: A = Only Covid-19 is mentioned, B = Covid-19 and other factors mentioned.
  5. Analyzing the data – Very little analysis was needed to answer the aforementioned questions.
  6. Presenting the data – See below.

Table 1 below contains several columns. From left to right, the first column lists CARICOM countries by name (member and associate members), and the second lists the assigned level. The third column lists the date on which the advisory was updated, and the fourth, a keyword summary of the ‘opening lines’ of the advisory. Finally, the last column is the advisory code that I developed.

Table 1

Table 2 below lists – from left to right – the Levels and the Number of CARICOM countries that fall into each level. The final column expresses this number as a percentage.

Table 2

Using the above tables, the questions at the beginning of the article can now be answered.