by Kevon Browne
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): As we approach the 80 percent mark of the target population receiving at least one dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine, the quarantine period for unvaccinated and partially vaccinated people could be reduced among others according to Prime Minister the Hon Dr. Timothy Harris during Leadership Matter on November 24.
“If we achieve this major milestone in our vaccination coverage we can see the following;
The barriers at Port Zante being removed… Port Zante then will become accessible to all
All vaccinated tourists arriving whether by cruise or by air can then have access to COVID-19 approved sites
Entertainers will be able to undertake mass events for fully vaccinated persons with 75 percent capacity
A negative PCR test will remain the standard for persons entering the Federation, but we can see the removal of all quarantine and testing requirements for arriving passengers 12 years and over who are fully vaccinated
We will be able to reduce the quarantine period for unvaccinated or partially vaccinated persons for 14 days to nine days,” said Prime Minister Harris during his opening remarks.
However, although these are all welcomed easing of restrictions most can look forward to the Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Hazel Laws, warns that a possible fourth wave of community transmission of the virus is inevitable.
Infections rates in Europe are rising sharply, harsher restrictions have been enforced and in some cases lockdowns and vaccination mandates initiated.
The possibility of a fourth wave is high considering the increase in inbound travellers as our restrictions are eased, and the tourism industry continues to emerge from just under two years of dormancy.
“A few months ago, we determined that the critical threshold of 80 percent coverage rate amongst our adults would automatically trigger further relaxation of our health and travel protocols… Ladies and gentlemen, we are almost there. The current situation on the ground is favourable. However, this is not the time for complacency; we are not yet out of the woods.”
For November, most COVID-19 daily cases were recording single-digit numbers, and the active cases count has been steadily decreasing and now stands at 30 active cases, according to Tuesday’s (November 23) COVID-19 report. A stark juxtaposition to the height of the third wave where the healthcare system dealt with 61 cases recorded in one 24-hour period, managing 1,073 active cases and recording some 10 COVID-19 fatalities in October.
However, with the CMO’s warning and the Delta variant yet to make its way in the Federation’s community, complacency could indeed bring about the fourth wave.