Caribbean update on COVID-19 situation in the region
Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) today issued the following update on the COVID-19 pandemic situation in the region:
Turks and Caicos Islands
TCI Travel Advisory # 3
The Emergency Powers (COVID-19) Regulations 2020.
The Turks and Caicos Islands Ministry of Tourism and Tourist Board continue to work along with the Ministry of Health as we prepare for the possibility of coronavirus (COVID-19) reaching the Turks and Caicos Islands. The Turks and Caicos Islands as of today 20th March 2020 reported zero confirmed cases of COVID-19 virus.
The safety and security of the travelling population is our major concern. We would like to advise visitors and travel industry partners of the recent changes in regulations that will affect travel to the destination. Please take note of the following: The Emergency Powers (COVID-19) Regulations 2020 which will come into operation on 24th March 2020.
Closure of Airports and Sea Ports
(1) For the purposes of preventing, controlling and suppressing the spread of the virus—
(a) all airports shall be closed to regional and international flights;
(b) all sea ports shall be closed to regional and international seafaring; and
(c) no visitor shall be permitted to enter or transit through the Turks and Caicos Islands,
for a period of twenty-one days, commencing on the date these Regulations come into force or until such date as the Governor may be notice specify.
(2) The restriction contained in subregulation (1) does not apply to—
(a) outgoing flights or outgoing ships, as the case may be;
(b) cargo flights or cargo ships, as the case may be;
(c) courier flights;
(d) medevac flights;
(e) technical stops (stops by aircraft to refuel and proceed onward to another destination);
(f) emergency flights approved by the Civil Aviation Authority and the Airports Authority; or
(g) a Turks and Caicos Islander or resident returning to the Islands.
(3) A Turks and Caicos Islander or resident who, at the date of commencement of these Regulations, had travelled to the Islands from a place outside the Islands, shall be—
(a) subjected to screening and passenger tracing at port of entry;
(b) subjected to clinical examination at port of entry;
(c) for the purposes of surveillance by the Chief Medical officer, required to remain at home or such other place of quarantine as specified by the Chief Medical officer and subject to such conditions as are provided by the Chief Medical Officer, for a period of fourteen days.
- (1) For the purposes of these Regulations, the screening and clinical examination requirements, in relation to a person are requirements to the effect that a person shall—
(a) answer questions about his health or other relevant circumstances (including travel history and information about other individuals with whom he may have had contact);
(b) produce any documents which may assist a medical officer in assessing his health;
(c) at such time as a medical officer may specify, allow a medical officer, to take a biological sample the person, including a sample of his respiratory secretions or blood, by appropriate means including by swabbing his nasopharyngeal cavity, or provide such a sample; and
(d) provide sufficient information to enable the person to be contacted immediately by a medical officer during such period as a medical officer may specify, where the medical officer considers that such provision of information is necessary in order to reduce or remove the risk of the person infecting or contaminating others.
Please be reminded that: As of March 17th the list of ‘infected countries’ in Regulation 2 of the Public and Environmental Health (Control Measures)(COVID-19) Regulations 2020 has been amended to include the following additional countries which are experiencing sustained in country transmission and may pose a risk to the public health of the Turks and Caicos Islands.
This list is based on the CDCs travel advisories which lists the following countries as having widespread ongoing transmission (level 3 warning). The expansion includes the following countries;
- Czech Republic
- San Marino
- Vatican City
In addition to the above screening protocols, travellers coming from such states will be asked to monitor themselves for symptoms over the subsequent 14 days and if they develop symptoms, then immediately call the Ministry of Heath’s Coronavirus hotline: (649) 333-0911 and (649) 232-9444.
The government continues to monitor this fluid situation and will update the general public regularly.
OFFICE OF THE PRIME MINISTER
MEASURES TO ADDRESS COVID-19:
The Government of Saint Lucia has announced the Implementation of Heightened Protocol and Social Distancing Regime with measures which come into effect from Monday 23rd March to Sunday April 5th 2020. The measures announced by Prime Minister Honourable Allen Chastanet are as follows:
Partial scale down of all non-essential economic and social activities for a two-week period commencing from date of Monday 23rd March to Sunday April 5th 2020
ESSENTIAL SERVICES WHICH WILL CONTINUE INCLUDE:
Emergency Services: Fire, Police as well as private security services.
Border Control: Saint Lucia will strengthen, tighten and escalate port health protocols as part of its heightened protocols.
Utilities (Wasco, Lucelec, telecoms),
Sanitation collection and disposal,
Supermarkets/minimarts/shops, bakeries, & pharmacies,
Air and Seaports operations (to facilitate cargo handling and US flights if they are still flying, to allow for return of nationals returning home)
Limited public transportation services,
Limited banking services,
Trucking services related to movement and delivery of essential supplies and the food chain.
Restaurants and Fast Food services only those who do take away/take out, delivery or drive through capabilities will be allowed to open
News and Broadcast Services
Manufacturing activities related to production of food, water and products of personal hygiene
Providers of Cleaning Services
PLEASE NOTE: Those operations and business that can continue delivery of services under a working-from-home environment are encouraged to do so. Businesses which cannot operate with work-from-home will shut down for the stipulated time period.
Due to the spreading of the Covid-19, the French Government has established several measures to contain and decrease the spread of the Coronavirus on all its territory. Therefore, The Martinique Authority (CTM), the Martinique Tourism Authority, the Port of Martinique, the Martinique International Airport, the Regional Health Agency (A.R.S.) along with all establishments of the public and private sector are taking an active part against the spread of the virus ensuring the safety of its local residents and present guests.
However, with this unexpected turn of events, all guests are strongly advised to return home.
Below is a summary of the restrictions implemented in Martinique:
Airports: In accordance to the French Government travel restrictions, Martinique International Airport is not allowing inbound flight (leisure, family visit etc..) to the Island. And as a further step to stop the spread of COVID-19, all international flights to/from Martinique are interrupted starting March 23rd, 2020.
Air service will only be authorized for:
1) The reunification of families with children or dependent person,
2) Professional obligations strictly necessary for the continuity of essential services,
3) Health requirements.
Flights from Martinique to France will be maintained until March 22, midnight; transport capacity will then be reduced to the same three criteria.
The same regulations apply between the 5 French overseas Islands: Saint-Martin, Saint-Barth, Guadeloupe, French Guyana and Martinique.
Cruise operations: The Martinique Port Authority has stopped all cruise calls scheduled for the season. Requests for technical stops will be treated case by case.
Container transport activities are still maintained, as well as oil and gas refueling.
Maritime Transport: Due to the important decrease of passenger capacity allowed by the French authorities; all maritime transportations are suspended.
Marinas: All activities at Marinas are discontinued.
Hotels & Villas: Due to travel restrictions, most hotels and villa rentals are bringing their activities to a close, while waiting for the departure of their last guests. No new guest will be allowed, and all the amenities such as pools, spa and other activities are closed to the public.
Leisure Activities & Restaurants: Due to the quarantine implemented by the French Government, leisure activities, restaurants & bars are closed to the public. Only restaurants inside hotels with guests are still operating, until the departure of their last visitors.
Economic Activities: In accordance to the restrictions in effect, all businesses are closed, and public transportation is no longer in operation. An exception is made for vital activities such as supermarkets, banks and pharmacies.
All the residents have the obligation to remain in confinement until further notice. For any necessary purposes such as food supply, sanitary reasons or essential work activities, an exemption certificate, available on the Prefecture of Martinique’s website, is mandatory.
BAHAMAS MINISTRY OF TOURISM & AVIATION STATEMENT ON COVID-19
NASSAU, Bahamas, March 20, 2020 – The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism & Aviation is following guidance from the Bahamas Ministry of Health and other government agencies pertaining to the country’s Preparedness and Response Plan for COVID-19. At this time, there are four confirmed cases of coronavirus in Nassau, The Bahamas. Patients are isolated in quarantine following the guidelines outlined by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
To further protect the well-being of Bahamian citizens, Prime Minister, The Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis, yesterday announced increased preventative measures and protocol to minimize the potential spread of the illness. These include new border control and quarantine measures for persons travelling from highly infected areas, as well as an imposed curfew extending each night from 9:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. effective Friday, March 20. Given the growing public health concern and to protect the health and well-being of the population of The Bahamas, effective Thursday, March 19, expanded travel restrictions were introduced. Foreign nationals and foreign individuals who have travelled within the last 20 days from United Kingdom, Ireland and other countries in Europe will be prohibited entry into The Bahamas. This is in addition to restrictions already in place for China, Iran, Italy and South Korea. This restricted travel list of countries will be continuously monitored and updated as necessary.
The Bahamas is conducting COVID-19 testing and is actively employing several measures used globally to screen visitors and residents and to manage the response to individuals of concern, in line with international health best practices. Traveller health questionnaires and a screening protocol are used at ports, hotels and rental properties to identify guests who may require surveillance or treatment. In addition, all Bahamian nationals and residents returning to The Bahamas through any point of entry from any of the restricted countries or an area where community infection and spread is present will be quarantined or be placed under self-isolation upon arrival and are expected to follow the protocols of the Ministry of Health.
A destination-wide education campaign is underway to remind the public of the basic hygiene practices that can be used to prevent the spread of the virus including frequent, proper hand washing, use of hand sanitizers, frequent disinfection of surfaces and avoiding close contact with those exhibiting signs of respiratory illness.
All COVID-19 inquiries should be directed to the Ministry of Health.
GRENADA’S UPDATED RESPONSE TO THE THREAT OF COVID-19
The Government of Grenada through the Ministry of Health (MOH) continues to work with all stakeholders to implement strong measures in response to the external threat of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Grenada remains well-informed of the latest international developments while implementing measures to safeguard citizens and visitors alike. To date, Grenada has no confirmed cases of COVID-19.
The Government of Grenada issued the following travel advisory on March 19, 2020. Countries placed on Grenada’s restricted travel list now include: Iran, China, South Korea, Singapore, Japan, Europe including the United Kingdom and Ireland and the USA.
1) Effective Friday March 20, 2020 at 23:59pm, non-nationals originating from the above mentioned countries in the last 14 days will be refused entry into Grenada. 2) Effective Saturday March 21, 2020 at 23:59pm the USA will be added to the advisory as per the stipulations outlined above. 3) Grenadian nationals/residents travelling from any of the above locations will be selfquarantined for a period of 14 days upon arrival into Grenada. 4) If you are arriving from any other destination outside the list above you will be screened upon entry, and self-quarantined for 14 days. 5) Before disembarking, every passenger is required to complete a declaration form on his/her health status. 6) On March 16, the Government of Grenada announced that passengers will not be allowed to disembark from ANY cruise ship on the shores of Grenada, until further notice. 7) All yachts and small vessels will now be processed/screened through the Camper and Nicholson Port Louis Marina in Grenada and Carriacou Marine in the South West side of Tyrrel Bay in Carriacou. (T: 473 443 6292)
Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean remains committed to delivering an outstanding experience to all our visitors. The health and safety of our visitors and citizens alike is of the utmost importance to us. We wish to remind you to continue to practice all safety and health protocols outlined by the Government. For those of you returning to your country of residence during this period, please contact your travel agent to make the necessary arrangements
Given the fluidity of the global COVID-19 pandemic, please note that all air travel and cruise ship advisories are subject to change, as more information becomes available. For further information please visit the Government of Grenada’s webpage or the Ministry of Health’s Facebook page at Facebook/HealthGrenada. The Ministry of Health has advised the public to continue using proper hygiene methods when they cough and sneeze and to practice social distancing.
As of Wednesday,18 March2020 there are no additional casesof COVID-19 in the CaymanIslands.There are currently44 test results pending.
Inbound passenger air traffic will cease tonight, Thursday, 19 March, as scheduled in preparation for a complete closure of both ORIA and CKIA
this coming Sunday, 22 March 2020, at 11:59 pm until Sunday, 12 April 2020, at 11:59 pm. Also commencing Sunday, 22 March at 11:59PM,
local business closures and restrictions for an initial period of two weeks, require restaurants to solely provide take-out and delivery services while bars,spas,salons,gyms and public swimming pools are required to close.
A subsistence plan has been activated to support Caymanian public transportation providers and will provide a CI$600.00 payment as supplementary income during the initial airport closure period. Transportation providers who are Caymanian; approved to operate one 15-seater bus or vehicle of less than 15 seats; and are licensed as either a taxi, tour, dual (taxi and tour), or water sports operator qualify for the stipend and will be contacted directly to make arrangements. Further considerations for subsistence will be reviewed throughout the crisis.
ANGUILLA INTRODUCES NEW PREVENTIVE MEASURES TO SAFEGUARD LOCAL RESIDENT AND VISITOR POPULATIONS
H.E. The Governor and The Hon. Premier issued a Joint Statement regarding Covid-19, emphasizing the Government’s unwavering commitment to protect the safety and well-being of all residents.
There have been no cases of the COVID-19 (Novel Corona virus) in Anguilla to date. However, in light of the most recent global developments, the following additional and new preventive measures at the ports of entry were approved at a special meeting of the Executive Council to guard against the threat of an imported case.
- The closure of all Anguilla’s ports – sea and air – for 14 days for all passenger movements. This will come in to force from 11:59 pm on Friday 20th March (Anguilla time). This does not include the movement of goods.
- All persons arriving in Anguilla who have traveled outside of the Caribbean Region within the last 14 days, will be quarantined for 14 days on their arrival. A judgement will be made on arrival by health professionals if this can be self-quarantine or in a government run health facility.
- All non-essential travel for public servants has been suspended for 30 days. In addition, residents of Anguilla are encouraged to avoid all unnecessary travel overseas at this time.
- Schools, which are already closed this week, will remain closed until and including Friday, April 3rd, 2020.
- Persons are encouraged not to congregate, this includes in church, at sports leagues, political meetings, youth gatherings, and at any sporting activities.
- Anguilla has an isolation area at the hospital to deal with suspected cases and additional infrastructural improvements are being finalized this week. Plans are underway for a small isolation unit in the medium to longer term.
- A 24-hour emergency hotline has been established for the general public seeking information on COVID-19 and for persons who feel they have been exposed to COVID-19. The number is 1-264-476-7627 or 1-264-476 SOAP.
Anguilla’s Ministry of Health is conducting an aggressive and expanded national campaign on respiratory hygiene as the main preventive/containment with a strategic focus on the tourism sector and children in addition to the general public, utilizing radio, jingles and PSA’s and social media.
The Ministry emphasizes that regardless of the evolution of the current situation the following basic principles reduce the risk of transmission of several respiratory infections including coronavirus:
- Frequent handwashing, especially after contact with ill persons and their environments.
- Covering of coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or in the crook of a flexed elbow.
- Avoiding contact with persons suffering from or exhibiting symptoms of acute respiratory infections such as the flu, coughs, and colds.
- Ensuring that shared spaces and work surfaces are cleaned and disinfected frequently.
- Limiting physical contact with others, including no handshakes or physical greeting, and to avoid crowds.
For more general information and updates please visit the official websites of the Center for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organisation (WHO) and CARPHA.
Curaçao Taking Proactive Approach To Address Coronavirus
WILLEMSTAD – March 18, 2020 – The safety and health of its citizens and travelers are of great importance to Curaçao. At this time, there have been three (3) confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19), each occurring in patients with recent travel throughout affected global areas. The Curaçao Tourist Board is working in close collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health, Environment and Nature, the Curaçao Civil Aviation Authority and government agencies to monitor new developments and to continually adapt communications on policies accordingly. The Curaçao Tourist Board is actively involved to ensure that all parties follow proper safety precautions in accordance with the World Health Organization. The organization is also committed to maintaining open lines of communication with both residents and visitors to ensure they receive the most up-to-date information.
The island has strict protocols in place at the airport and seaport to ensure the optimal probability of detection, especially in people returning from high-risk areas. The government has enacted temporary restrictions on flights and has limited incoming traffic to returning residents, essential medical specialists, nurses, and professionals. The airport has also suspended all operations of its immigration E-Gates to control the spread of COVID-19. Information is available at Hato International Airport for any travelers experiencing symptoms or those traveling from known areas with widespread coronavirus transmission.
DOMINICA MINISTRY OF TOURISM, INTERNATIONAL TRANSPORT AND MARITIME INITIATIVES ORGANIZES NATIONAL CONSULTATION ON COVID-19
(Roseau, Dominica: March 20, 2020) The Ministry of Tourism, International Transport and Maritime Initiatives organized a National Consultation on Dominica’s response to the COVID-19 chaired by the Prime Minister Hon Dr. Roosevelt Skerrit.
Ministers of Cabinet were in attendance as well as leaders of private sector and civil society. The Dominica Hotel and Tourism Association, Dominica Association of Industry and Commerce, the Unions, Bank and Financial Institution Association, church and sports organizations were among those invited to make contributions on the impacts, actions being taken and recommendations for Dominica’s response to the COVID-19.
The following resulted from the National Consultation:
- Government’s Intent to convene a parliamentary committee to review and prepare a response to the COVID-19 and Dominica
- The appointment of Coordinator along with other personnel to lead Dominica’s response to COVID-19 and assist with logistical matters
- Commitment by all involved to work with Government to address and implement the necessary steps to address COVD-19
Additionally, the following were reiterated
- Dominica is following the protocols set forth by the WHO, PAHO and CARPHA. We acknowledge the four stages of WHO Risk Management Approach to an Influenza Pandemic and confirm that Dominica is currently at Stage 1 – Prevention. Confirmation that there are no reported cases of COVID-19 on island. Consequently, led by the Ministry of Health, Wellness and New Health Investments but orchestrated in a multi sectoral approach, all the preventative steps are being adhered to and taken on island.
At the Ports:
- The Government of Dominica has not closed its borders to travelers, however it is implementing stringent protocols at its ports of entry in accordance with relevant health advice.
- The Government is using data from the Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS) in combination with ensuring that question #17 of the Customs/Immigration form is filled out so as to indicate the travelers most recent travels. Additionally, all passengers are provided with a separate questionnaire that must be filled out in order to ascertain and confirm their recent travel and sent in advance to allow for appropriate preparation by Port Authorities
- Special protocols have been set up for travelers from the identified hotspots and special screenings in an isolated area is being undertaken for travelers showing symptoms upon entry into the destination.
- Hand sanitizers have been installed for use by the travelling public, frequent hand washing with soap and water is being encouraged, and the ports of entry are undergoing deep cleaning frequently in accordance with the protocols.
At the Hotels
- Protocols for employees and guests of accommodations have been established and communicated.
- They indicate actions to be taken should a guest or employee exhibit symptoms of COVID-19.
- These protocols call for the symptomatic individual and all contacts to be provided with masks, isolated and health personnel to be notified
- At which point the health professionals will take over
- (A document detailing the protocol is attached)
St Vincent and the Grenadines Sets Measures to Limit Spread of COVID-19
Following the news of the first case of COVID-19 found in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) to date, the government of the Caribbean nation has announced several measures to limit the spread of the virus.
SVG confirmed its first imported case of the virus on Wednesday, March 11 and Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said that several meetings of officials have taken place since then to address the issue. The affected person is in self isolation after returning from the United Kingdom.
Measures to limit the spread include ordering the suspension for certain formal ports of entry while the hours of operation at other ports will be expanded in some instances. St. Vincent and the Grenadines is made up of a collection of 32 islands and cays in the Caribbean, nine of which are inhabited. The ports of entry which will remain open for yachts are Wallilabou, Blue Lagoon, Bequia, Mustique, Canouan and Union Island. Crew will have to immediately check in at immigration upon anchoring at a port of entry.
People entering the country with a travel history which includes Iran, China, South Korea and Italy are now to to be quarantined for 14 days upon entry. Approval was also granted to implement active surveillance of people with a travel history that includes countries with community transmission by nurses assigned to hotels.
Measures setup for Vincentians to stay safe include the Prime Minister announcing that he has also given approval to hire between 20 and 25 additional Vincentian nurses “to strengthen surveillance, maintenance and management of COVID 19 especially at airports and other ports of entry”. The Prime Minister also urged Vincentians to take proper cautions to keep themselves and others safe. He has also formally requested from the Cuban government, 12 nurses and three doctors who specialize in handling infectious diseases including COVID-19, to assist in further training of local nurses and medical personnel. An order for equipment and supplies for the testing of COVID-19 was also made by health minister, Luke Browne.