CARIBBEAN ROUNDUP: Bahamas Releases Updated Testing Protocol For Visitors
NASSAU — The Ministry of Health announced that all travelers must complete a Bahamas Health Visa application and present a negative COVID-19 real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test with a sample taken within 10 days of arrival in order to gain entry into the island.
According to the Caribbean Tourism Organization, the protocol takes effect immediately as of Thursday and all travelers will be required to complete an electronic health visa application before departure from the place of embarkation.
Travelers will be required to upload a negative COVID-19 test and provide contact information.
The government of The Bahamas will accept the negative test only if the sample was taken within 10 days of arrival. Tests over 10 days old will not be accepted.
An automated response will be provided once the application is completed. The only persons approved to travel are those who receive a green color-coded response as proof of approval, according to the CTO.
The confirmation must be presented upon arrival in The Bahamas. The Health Visa application process will take 24 to 48 hours and should be completed with adequate lead time, officials advised. Failure to comply with the stated requirements will result in denied entry. It is recommended that all travelers interested in visiting The Bahamas review requirements applicable to each member of their traveling party at www.bahamas.com/travelupdates before booking a trip.
Meanwhile, the Grand Bahama Island Tourism Board announced that the island reopened to international commercial flights on July 1 and as a special offer to welcome visitors, the island has partnered with cruise and air travel companies to offer discounted rates to travelers.
The statement noted that the Bahama Paradise Cruise Line will make its first port of call at Freeport on July 26.
The first cruise ship to be certified as “green” under the new CDC color-coding system was the Grand Celebration from Bahamas Paradise, indicating approval of the cruise line’s response plan to provide a safe environment for both passengers and crew to work, sail and disembark.
Travel advisory for Antigua and Barbuda
The Government of Antigua and Barbuda announced that as of today, the V.C. Bird International Airport is opened for international and regional air traffic. The Antigua Port Authority is opened to cargo vessels, pleasure craft and ferry services which are required to follow all protocols issued by Port Health, according to a statement from the Caribbean Tourism Organization.
The twin-island will work on a combination of screening, testing, monitoring and other measures to mitigate the risk of importing any new cases of COVID-19.
Additionally, measures will be implemented for the quick detection of any imported cases. During this all passengers by air must have a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR taken within seven days of their flight. This includes transiting passengers. Passengers arriving by sea — private yachts/ferry services — will be subject to quarantine according to guidelines issued by Port Health.
Saint Lucia announces update on travel protocols
Following a reassessment of travel protocols based on market conditions, the Government of Saint Lucia introduced updated protocols for arrivals effective Thursday.
Travelers will be required to obtain a negative PCR test within seven days of travel unless they are arriving from countries in the “travel bubble” designated by the Government of Saint Lucia.
Visitors traveling only from destinations that have zero or a low instance of COVID-19 cases will be exempt from the seven-day pre-testing requirement. These destinations currently include Antigua, Barbuda, Aruba, Anguilla, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Curaçao, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Martin, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saint Martin, Trinidad and Tobago and Turks and Caicos. Visitors with a travel history from these areas in the last 14 days will also be exempt from quarantine.
During Phase 1, visitors can stay only at hotels that are COVID-19 certified.
Among the required protocols, accommodations must sanitize luggage upon check in; maintain a fully equipped nurses’ station; observe strict detailed sanitization protocols for housekeeping; maintain required distance with tables for dining; and have hand sanitizer stations installed throughout the property. Sanitizing stations and showers for staff must also be installed for use prior to reentering the public.
To keep visitors informed on the island, health and safety protocols have been reinforced with new signage at airports and other public places.
Trinidad’s Caribbean Airlines restarts operations
Caribbean Airlines has re-started commercial operations from its Jamaica hub into the United States and Canada. Daily flights to and from Kingston and New York resumed on July 6, with a further roll out of non-stop services to Toronto and Miami scheduled. “The resumption of phased commercial operations out of Jamaica marked a significant day for all stakeholders,” Caribbean Airlines Chief Executive Officer Garvin Medera said.
“Our teams and crews have been preparing for the re-start of our flights, and we have implemented several measures to keep our employees and passengers safe.”
The company is also continuing repatriation efforts, providing relief to scores of stranded Caribbean nationals desirous of returning to their home countries, according to the CTO.
More than 400 passengers were accommodated on repatriation flights operated between Trinidad, Guyana, Cuba and St Maarten on July 6.
The airlines also flew a special charter for 147 farm-workers headed to Canada from Trinidad. Among the passengers were medical students, all nationals of Trinidad and Tobago studying in Cuba.
The airline has increased its domestic operations on the air bridge between Trinidad & Tobago; and Cargo operations continue, utilizing both the airline’s Boeing 737 fleet and freighter service.
Jamaica Requiring Test, Restricting Tourist Movement
Jamaica, which reopened its airports last Monday, is requiring tourists and returning nationals to undergo some kind of quarantine and risk-based PCR COVID-19 testing at the airport or a designated government facility based on the countries they are traveling from, exposure to COVID-19 and other risk factors. The country is also limiting tourist movement to a “COVID-19 Resilient Corridor” in order to manage and contact trace any infections among workers or visitors.
Montserrat’s borders closed
Montserrat’s borders remain closed, with exceptions made for returning nationals and residents who would be subject to being screened upon arrival and self-quarantined for 14 days.
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