The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lowered once again Guam's travel risk rating over COVID-19 concerns, this time from "high" to "moderate" or level 2, boosting the island's preparations to reopen its tourism by May.
In March, CDC lowered Guam's COVID-19 travel risk rating from "very high" to "high."
"We welcome the latest designation from the CDC, which recognizes the efforts by our people to change the course of our battle with this global pandemic," Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero said in a statement Tuesday morning.
A level 2 or "moderate" rating on the CDC list means 10 to 50 cases over the past 28 days, and a level 1 or "low" is fewer than 10 cases over the past 28 days.
Under a "moderate" ranking, CDC said travelers at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 should avoid all nonessential travel to Guam.
"If you travel to Guam, get fully vaccinated before travel," CDC stated on its website.
The governor said this downgrade communicates to the nation—and the rest of the world—"that we are taking charge and taking control of the virus."
"More importantly, it paves the way for reopening Guam and re-energizing not just tourism, but our economy," she said.
Guam joins 16 others including the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, with "moderate" travel risk on CDC's list.
'Path to Half'
As of Tuesday morning, more than 32,000 of Guam's adults are fully vaccinated.
Lt. Gov. Josh Tenorio said this means Guam is that much closer to its "Path to Half" and ultimately, its goal of achieving herd immunity.
The goal, he said, is "liberating our island from this deadly virus and rebuilding a stronger, healthier Guam."
Additional 53,000-plus doses of COVID-19 vaccines arrived during the weekend.
"While this pandemic has forced us apart, it could not break our spirit," the governor said. "Together, the people of Guam have demonstrated their willingness to do what is necessary to protect one another, including wearing masks, washing hands, and watching their distance. With COVID-19 vaccines readily available to all adults, and those 16 and over, we look forward to more progress—and an even lower risk designation—from the CDC very soon."
This story will be updated.