Saint Kitts, Anguilla, Grenada and Montserrat are now the only COVID-19 free nations in the Caribbean region with both Saint Lucia and Dominica reporting 2 new case each. Meanwhile, Saint Lucia is reporting the lowest COVID-19 infection rate among Caribbean destinations, with only 26 cases to date and 1 death, a finding confirmed by Centers for Disease Control (CDC) data. The country is easing restrictions on visitors as a result of the low infection rates, said Saint Lucia Tourism Authority (SLTA) officials. Until recently, Dominica imported their current two active cases. Globally, the only others COVID-19 free countries are Greenland, Falklands, New Caledonia, Macao and Vatican City according to Worldometers data. When a highly infectious disease is the biggest threat to global well-being, islands with small populations have a particular advantage.
A COVID-19 Free Anguilla reopens for tourism, with a catch
As designated by the World Health Organization, Anguilla has no active COVID-19 cases, landing it on the extremely limited “No Travel Health Notice” CDC list. Officials obviously intend to keep it that way so starting today, international visitors can apply for entry to the island in a soft opening/phase one of a staggered reopening on the tourism website. But who gets in – and when – will depend on where they live including for Americans, their individual state.
“There are three main principles that have governed and grounded our efforts as we formulated our reopening protocols – research, risk mitigation and capacity.”
– Hon. Parliamentary Secretary Mrs. Quincia Gumbs-Marie
To enter, Anguilla’s application process will prioritize and longer stay travelers and persons originating from low risk countries; low risk is where the prevalence of the virus is less than 0.2%. While the U.S. is clearly considered a high risk country with citizens undoubtedly falling to the bottom of the approvals list, Anguilla’s tourism officials is giving a higher level of consideration to residents of states in which the infection level is below 2%.
A COVID-19 Free Saint Kitts & Nevis plans October reopening
St. Kitts and Nevis has the lowest confirmed COVID-19 case count among the CARICOM states, with zero deaths recorded
in association with the virus and no currently active cases on the islands. Additionally, St. Kitts authorities are conducting training exercises for over 5,000 tourism industry stakeholders, including hotels, at no cost to them. Tourism authorities include the St. Kitts Tourism Authority, the Nevis Tourism Authority, and the Ministry of Tourism; in conjunction with the Ministries of health and civil aviation.
As we approach our 37th year of independence, we pause to reflect on our strengths and weaknesses; we explore alternative approaches for enhancing our nation’s growth and prosperity, post-COVID-19.”
The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis plans to reopen its borders to foreign tourism beginning in October 2020. According to the Prime Minister, Dr. Timothy Harris, the reopening will allow the resumption of commercial passenger air and sea traffic entering the twin islands’ ports.
Montserrat open only to Montserratians
Montserrat is one of the Caribbean’s most dramatic islands, not only in terms of its soaring peaks and rainforest-covered hillsides, but also due to the cataclysmic eruptions of the Soufrière Hills Volcano that took place in the late 1990s. However, their Director of Tourism Warren Solomon believes Montserrat should not be in any haste to reopen its borders.
“Now is a time for the island [Montserrat] to observe and learn from other Caribbean countries that may have already opened their borders.”
An open border Grenada makes full recovery, gets WTTC’s Safe Travels Stamp of approval
After six weeks without an active COVID-19 case, Grenada recorded a positive passenger who arrived via JetBlue charter flight on the island from the United States. However, under the new health protocol, all persons arriving on an international flight must be placed in 14 days mandatory quarantine. Grenada reopened their Maurice Bishop International Airport to regional and charter flights; international commercial flights began as of August 1. With a full 24-case recovery, Grenada has received the go-ahead from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) to use its WTTC Safe Travels Stamp, recognizing the island’s enhanced health and safety measures and safe, gradual plan in restarting its tourism industry.
Read more on the Caribbean here.