Thursday 24 September, 2020

New travel protocols from September 4, very low-risk category added

(File Photo)

(File Photo)

New travel protocols for Barbados take effect today, September 4, 2020.

And every fortnight amendments will be made to these protocols as the COVID-19 situation shifts in countries regionally and globally. However, some of the new protocols will not be implemented until September 14.

The latest update in the COVID-19 protocols for travellers to Barbados reflect some changes to the risk categories with several European countries now deemed high-risk and a number of Caribbean territories joining them, having been shifted from low and medium-risk categories.

In the Caribbean, a number of territories have been re-categorised.

Moving from the medium-risk category to high-risk are:

  1. Jamaica,
  2. Haiti,
  3. Dominican Republic and
  4. Suriname.

Moving from low-risk to high-rish are:

  1. Trinidad and Tobago and
  2. Guyana.

Within Europe, medium-risk countries like Spain, Italy, France and Sweden have now been shifted into the high-risk category.

However, some territories have been downgraded from medium-risk to low-risk. These include

  • Australia,
  • Egypt and
  • Sri Lanka, to name a few.

In a statement posted to the Government Information Service website, Acting Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Kenneth George explained that the determination of risk was based on the cumulative seven-day total of new cases per 100,000 of the population and also took into account the positivity rates.

He said: 

"The travelling public is advised to familiarise themselves with the new protocols and to be aware that the Ministry of Health and Wellness endeavours to have the protocols updated every two weeks because of the fluid situation presented by the COVID-19 pandemic."

Travellers to Barbados were reminded that anyone coming into Barbados from a country categorised as high or medium risk was strongly advised to have a valid negative COVID-19 PCR test result from an accredited laboratory 72 hours prior to arrival.

Dr George reiterated that all persons entering Barbados from high-risk countries who test negative have the choice of quarantining at a government facility free of charge or at a designated hotel or approved villa at their expense for 14 days. There is the option of taking a second test between five and seven days. If that test result is negative, those persons may be discharged, the Acting CMO shared.

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Those travelling from low-risk countries will be allowed to present negative results of tests taken up to five days prior to arrival.

However, all passengers from across the three categories arriving without a valid test are required to take a test upon arrival at the airport.

In addition to the reshuffling of territories, a new component has been added to the protocols. This amendment takes effect on September 14, 2020.

It will require persons travelling from medium-risk countries to take a mandatory second test after seven days.  This category of traveller, who presents a negative test or tests negative on arrival is monitored daily for the onset of symptoms for seven days. Anyone refusing to take the second test at the end of that period will be placed in quarantine for seven days, the Acting CMO disclosed.

New category added

Another addition to the travel protocols is the inclusion of a new category deemed very-low risk.

Persons travelling from these countries and who have not travelled to, or transited through any country designated as high, medium or low risk within 21 days prior to travel to Barbados, will not be required to take a COVID-19 PCR test prior to or on arrival.           

Countries which fall into to this very-low risk category include:

  1. Dominica,
  2. Grenada,
  3. Anguilla,
  4. Antigua and Barbuda,
  5. Cayman Islands,
  6. St Lucia,
  7. New Zealand,
  8. Finland,
  9. Montserrat,
  10. St Kitts and Nevis and
  11. St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The full list of countries in all categories and the updated travel protocols may be viewed here.

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