By Devonne Cornelius
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN) – The federation of St. Kitts and Nevis will not participate in the CARICOM Travel Bubble so says Prime Minister, the Hon. Dr. Timothy Harris.
Prime Harris said this decision was arrived at with consultation with the COVID-19 Task Force and the cabinet of the government of St. Kitts and Nevis on Monday, November 02, 2020.
The Prime Minister made this disclosure at his Tuesday, November 03 Leadership Matters program.
“I have today advised the Secretary-General of CARICOM, Ambassador Irwin Laroque, that St. Kitts and Nevis has in our national interest, albeit for health reasons, withdrawn from the [CARICOM] Bubble effective immediately” adding that the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) was also advised of the decision taken.
The defining feature of the CARICOM Travel Bubble is that persons allowed to participate are not required to take COVID-19 tests nor to undergo a period of quarantine in order to travel to countries that are within the bubble.
Dr. Harris further stated that “we have seen a change in the risk level of a number of countries within the bubble with Antigua and Barbuda, St. Lucia and Barbados experiencing a resurgence of new cases. We have taken note of reports about actual or potential community spread in some member states”.
In agreeing to establish the Bubble, the Heads were guided by a comprehensive report from 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.
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.
On Tuesday, September 22, 2020, it was definitely confirmed that St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, and Barbados have all put their arrangements in place and have commenced operating the Travel Bubble.