by Kevon Browne
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): St. Kitts and Nevis is among 26 Caribbean countries placed on the United Kingdom’s (UK) Amber List effective May 17 according to a statement on the UK government website.
The statement urged people of the UK not to travel to red and amber countries for leisure because of a higher perceived risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus.
Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and more are some of the islands included on the amber list.
Guyana, Brazil, French Guiana and Venezuela are on the red list.
What exactly are these lists and what qualifies a territory’s addition to either level?
The lists were dubbed a traffic light system of Green, Amber (Yellow) and Red, and authorities in the UK assess the eligibility of countries based on vaccinations, infection rates, the prevalence of variants of concern, and their genomic sequencing capacity (or access to genomic sequencing).
An article from the Department of Transport in the UK, it stated, “Countries have been allocated by ministers according to the latest scientific data, so quarantine and testing requirements on return from those countries are appropriate to the risk of coronavirus and variants of concern.”
The lists will reportedly be reviewed every 3 weeks.
What does it mean for travellers to territories on these lists?
On the Green List:
Travellers returning from a country on that list will not need to quarantine, and will only be required to take one post-arrival test.
On the Amber List which covers most of the Caribbean region:
Transport secretary Grant Shapps said, “you should not be travelling to these places right now”.
Those who go against that guidance must take two post-arrival tests.
They are also required to self-isolate at home for 10 days, although they can reduce that time if they take an additional negative test on day five.
On the Red List:
Those returning from a red list country must stay in a quarantine hotel for 11 nights at a cost of £1,750.
What does it mean for the Caribbean?
According to the United Nations the tourism economy, which includes both tourism and all sectors that depend on it, represents 26% of total GDP in the Caribbean and accounts for 35% of employment in the Caribbean.
With an already stunted tourism sector, this travel advisory ahead of summer and ahead of the phased restart of cruise tourism in the region, this may put some added pressure on the attempts at reinvigorating the tourism industry in the region.
St. Kitts & Nevis extended a travel advisory for travelers arriving from the U.K. through to April 7, 2021 which required them to quarantine and not “vacation in place” for the duration of their stay in the Federation, a mandatory 14-day quarantine period.
According to the latest Airlift Update #13 from the St. Kitts Tourism Authority British Airways’ weekly Saturday service from June 6 to October 10, 2021 has not been confirmed.