by Kevon Browne
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN) – The Federation no longer has travel bans on people travelling from Brazil.
“St. Kitts and Nevis would have had travel ban on Brazil and [under] the recommendations of the National COVID-19 Task Force, the Cabinet has accepted the recommendation to have this ban removed from Brazil effective December 2,” announced Abdias Samuel, Chair of the COVID-19 Task Force during the press briefing hosted by the National Emergency Operations Center on December 1.
Brazil was the last country on the travel ban list with the ban on
India and South Africa lifted on October 18, 2021, and the UK a month prior on September 1, 2021.
Even with the spread of the new variant, Omicron, now confirmed in 24 countries including our major tourism source market, the United States, St. Kitts and Nevis, has decided not to restrict travel from any country and instead follow recommendations from the World Health Organisation (WHO).
“WHO recommends that we increase our public health and medical capacities; in other words, increase and augment the healthcare system and prepare ourselves for a surge in cases. We need to continue the COVID-19 prevention and control measures, we need to enhance surveillance, and we need to make sure that the appropriate samples are set for genomic sequencing. The world needs to address the inequality in access to COVID-19 vaccines, and most importantly, we need to enhance border surveillance. And so we need to be able to pick up Omicron as soon as it appears at our shores,” reported Chief Medical Officer Dr Hazel Laws.
The reporting of Omicron has fueled many travel restrictions and bolstering of protocols as it made its way into other countries over the last week after scientists in South Africa made the information known to the WHO.
The CMO also warned that with the increase in tourism, no travel ban and the gradual easing of other COVID-19 related restrictions, Omicron poses a heightened threat to the Caribbean region.
“There are anecdotal reports coming out [suggesting] of reinfection as I breakthrough infections of vaccinated individuals. One thing we know for sure is that there’s a very high risk of this variant being imported to the Caribbean. So we need to be cognizant of this because of the expansion in terms of tourism, and flights coming into the region from Europe, the Netherlands, for example, there’s a very high risk of this variant being ported to the Caribbean.”
Apart from Omicron, Delta remains a threat as well. It is still the most circulated variant globally. The Delta variant has not yet been detected in the St. Kitts and Nevis community.