No PCR Testing In Advance, No Quarantine Restrictions As CARICOM Agrees On Travel Bubble

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves speaking at the press conference on Tuesday. (iWN photo)

CARICOM Heads of Government have taken a major step towards resuscitating the COVID19 challenged  travel and tourism sectors,   with agreement to institute a Travel Bubble among CARICOM Member States and Associate Members which meet the agreed criteria from Friday 18 September 2020.

The Heads took the decision at a Special Emergency Session on Friday 11 September, at which they acknowledged that the past six months have been a very challenging period globally and regionally, as countries have struggled to cope with the effects of the novel coronavirus. They noted that for CARICOM, it has been particularly difficult, given the high dependence in most of the economies on the travel and tourism sectors.

In agreeing to establish the Bubble, the Heads were guided by a comprehensive report from the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), which provided recommendations on how the Bubble would operate, and laid out the eligibility criteria for countries to participate.

The recommendations included that countries would be categorised ranging from those with no cases to those which had low, medium, high and very high risk with respect to the rate of positive cases over a 14-day period; the level of risk would be determined by the amount of positive cases per 100,000 of the population within a 14-day period; only those countries with no cases and those in the low-risk category would be allowed to participate in the Bubble; and CARPHA will assess relevant data to advise on participation in the Bubble.

Heads of Government agreed that travellers from countries within the Bubble would be allowed entry without being subjected to PCR testing prior to arrival and would also not have to undergo quarantine restrictions. Travellers may however be subjected to screening on arrival.

It was agreed that initially, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines 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.

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  1. This is quite pleasing to the ears……!! Atleast the Caricom region should always be speaking with one voice, approaching goals with one aim and calibrating their bearings towards the same destiny….. It can only benefit us, as a people from the same geographical area.

  2. @ Bluddy Bloke
    Sadly this meeting of the minds comes only when our collective backs are up against the wall, some more so than others. Was it not just ‘yesterday’ that the same CARICOM had set about declaring which if their neighbors would/would not be allowed hassle-free entry into their sacred ports? Let’s hope that this sort of collective solidarity remains firm as we follow Mike Pompeo’s visit to Guyana shortly. Let me see if I could salvage the little remaining hope/respect I have for this erratic body called CARICOM.

  3. I’m to skeptic about this arrangement. we may be importing these Islands Covid. Unlike the tourists who will have to come with a negative test and also go straight to their hotel, these brothers and sisters from neighboring islands will be coming among us. I’ll stay far away from you guys and certainly will not drop my guards regarding the protocols.

    • It is up to you to participate in the bubble if you so choose. I will not be participating as I believe any form of recreational travel should be discouraged at this time.

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