CARICOM travel bubble only activated in Barbados, SVG
Barbados is the only country from which passengers may arrive in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) without proof of having tested negative for COVID-19.
Dr Roger Duncan, medical officer of health said this week that this is in keeping with the agreed criteria of the CARICOM travel bubble, which currently is only partially activated.
CARICOM agreed on September 11 that initially, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia and SVG will be in the Bubble as they presently meet the criteria. Other Member States and Associate Members will be allowed to participate when they meet the criteria.
Persons travelling between the countries in the Bubble would be allowed to enter without having taken a COVID-19 PCR test and without being subjected to quarantine.
“Along with that, no test, no quarantine, the countries also had to have in place, certain measures, certain protocols for dealing with persons coming from high risk areas, which would then decrease their own internal risk,” Dr Simone Keizer-Beache, the chief medical officer said on VC3’s Round Table Talk programme on Wednesday.
She said only Barbados and SVG went ahead with recognising the bubble on September 18 as agreed.
The chief medical officer noted that Vincentians are still required to arrive in the other countries that were supposed to be part of the Bubble with negative PCR tests.
And though it appears as though Grenada has started its implementation of the Bubble, there is no wide acknowledgement of that fact.
Though the Bubble between SVG and Barbados is currently activated, Dr Roger Duncan, the medical officer of health warned that everybody may be tested on arrival, regardless of their country of origin.
“It’s only people in Barbados we may allow to enter without having a test but bear in mind, we have port health officers and they have the final say and discretion as to what happens, what sort of screening takes place when you arrive…” Duncan said.
The medical officer of health said this will depend on the risk perceived by port health officers, particularly in cases where an individual may have been sick on a flight coming into SVG.
He said all persons on that flight may be quarantined and asked to stay put until all necessary things are sorted and persons on the flight are cleared.
For the purposes of the CARICOM Bubble, the country of residence must be the last country that the traveler was present in for at least 14 days.
As at October 1, Canada, Cuba, Taiwan and Iceland have been listed as medium risk countries and passengers travelling to SVG must arrive with a negative PCR test done no more than five days before arrival.
These persons will be retested on arrival in SVG and must complete a mandatory quarantine period of up to 72 hours.
The quarantine period may continue for an additional nine to 16 monitored days in an approved home/hotel/vessel at the discretion of the port health officer.
The United States of America, including the US Virgin Islands, China, United Kingdom, Germany, BVI, Guyana, Suriname, Belize, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Brazil, India, Panama, Argentina, Peru, Haiti, Columbia, South Africa, Nigeria, Indonesia, Phillipines, Italy, Bahamas, Turks and Caicos islands, France (including the overseas regions), Spain and Russia are all considered high risk countries for COVID-19.
Persons travelling from these countries to St Vincent and the Grenadines must arrive with a negative PCR test done no more than five days before arrival.
They will be retested on arrival and must complete mandatory five-day quarantine in a Tourism Authority/Ministry of Health approved hotel facility at their cost.
Persons are also required to arrive with proof of the fully paid reservation and must travel to the facility in an approved AIA taxi or approved vessel (plane or ferry) at their own expense.
Travellers will also be retested between day four and five of this five-day quarantine period before continuing a further nine to 16 days of quarantine in an approved home/hotel/vessel at the discretion of the port health officer.