Caribbean destinations that have opened their borders to tourism this month are amending travel entry requirements amid a sharp resurgence of COVID-19 cases in the U.S.
A key market for the Caribbean, the U.S.’s caseload has climbed to over 3.7 million and deaths have reached over 140,000, according to Worldometers.
The Bahamas has gone as far closing its borders to American travelers for the time being to prevent the spread of the virus. St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris has closed the country’s borders to travel indefinitely.
Many destinations have already updated their policies to require a COVID-19 PCR test 72 hours prior to arrival (see: Turks and Caicos, Puerto Rico). The challenge will be for travelers to find testing programs that process a test quick enough – in several states, test results can take as long as seven days.
Jamaica has announced revised measures for international travelers visiting the island, which will be in effect now through July 31. Travelers from high-risk areas must complete the Travel Authorization between two and five days prior to their planned arrival in Jamaica. Travelers from Arizona, Florida, New York, and Texas – areas declared by the Ministry of Health and Wellness as high risk at this time – will be required to upload negative COVID-19 PCR test results, which must also be presented upon arrival in Jamaica. Tests should be no more than 10 days old measured from the day the sample was taken to the day of arrival in Jamaica.
All visitors will still be screened upon arrival in Jamaica via thermal temperature checks, symptom observation and a brief interview with a Health Officer.
Leisure travelers from areas not currently designated as high risk may be subject to swab testing based on symptoms or responses to the risk assessment. Those with negative results – as well as those who do not require testing – must adhere to the Stay in Zone order, which requires persons to remain at their hotel or resort within the Resilient Corridor for the duration of their stay. Those who are screened and assessed and show symptoms upon arrival will be subject to swab testing and must quarantine in their hotel room until test results are available.
Visitors staying outside the Resilient Corridor, who are deemed to be high risk, will be required to take a COVID-19 PCR test once they arrive in Jamaica and will be under quarantine orders until test results are returned. Positive cases will be isolated in home or state facilities depending on an assessment by the health authorities. Visitors who are low risk will not be required to be tested but will be under the stay at home measure for 14 days. All Business travelers will receive a swab test at the airport, and must remain in quarantine until results are available.
Jamaica’s health and safety measures are revisited every two weeks.
The U.S. Virgin Islands updated its arrivals protocol, which went into effect July 15. Anyone traveling from a state with a COVID-19 infection rate greater than 10% will have to take a negative test (molecular/PCR/rapid) five days prior to travel. This currently applies to residents of these states, based on data from John Hopkins: Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Nevada, South Carolina, and Texas.
USVI is recommending COVID-19 tests for travelers whose home states have positivity rates greater than 7.5%.
Travelers unable to produce the required test results will be subject to a quarantine for 14 days or until they receive required test results.
Barbados last week added that travelers from “high-risk” countries who do not have a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours prior to arrival will be tested at the airport and held there until results are available. People from medium-risk countries will not have to wait for their results at the airport.
Countries with more than 10,000 new cases in prior seven days and community transmission are deemed high-risk, and include the U.S., Brazil, and Mexico.
Countries with 101-10,000 new cases in prior seven days and community transmission are labeled medium risk, this includes Canada and the UK.
Beginning Aug. 7, Dominica will welcome tourists as part of phase two of the reopening of borders. Visitors must obtain a negative COVID-19 test (PCR) result recorded 24 to 72 hours before arriving in Dominica. Then, they complete an online questionnaire at least 24 hours in advance and show their clearance to travel. Upon arrival, they will undergo a series of checks, including a rapid test screening. Should the passenger present any signals deemed unsafe, such as a positive test result, they will be quarantined at a government facility or a certified hotel.