An Advanced Passenger Information System or API has been put in place at all ports of entry in Dominica, as the government continues to put measures in place to protect the country’s borders against the coronavirus (covid-19) according to Minister for health Dr. Irving McIntyre.
McIntyre said this system is a precautionary measure used to obtain information of all passengers.
He stated if anyone comes from a “hotspot” country known to have cases of the virus, they will be interviewed and arranged to be home quarantined by health officers as soon as they enter Dominica.
“The system of sharing information with the arrival of passengers from the People’s Republic of China or other hotspots is in place- that is done through the API…so if we have that sort of information it makes it much easier for us to know where someone is coming from,” he said during a National Emergency Planning Organisation (NEPO) meeting held yesterday.
He said although this system has been working well so far, he called on the general public to assist the port officials by reporting anyone that the API might have missed.
Meantime, McIntyre said the customs division has already taken precautionary measures to ensure that all ports of entry are equipped with adequate and basic protective and sanitary gear to reduce the risk of infection to front line officers who are exposed to new arrivals each day.
He said one of the major areas that Dominica faces a potential challenge is in the yacht industry which is a semi regulated means of travel that may be an avenue for risk for the entire country.
He stated that recently the controllers of customs within the Caribbean region voiced their concern on this matter though a CARICOM impacts video conference.
During the conference, the Caribbean Customs Law enforcement Council (CCLEC) announced that two “Kiosks” have already been shipped with a live online system called “Sail Clear” vessel clearance system.
In travel kiosks, are typically self service devices that are simple to use and convenient, making it possible for travelers to be more easily recorded and processed at the point of entry or departure.
The health minister said this will assist the region to manage potential covid-19 outbreaks by utilizing pre-arrival notifications and will mandate that masters of all yachts and vessels use “Sale Clear” to submit online declarations regarding their passengers and luggage to customs and immigration.
The ministry of health has been monitoring all alerts and other communication in relation to covid-19 and has increased preparedness measures through heightened surveillance systems, educational sessions and dissemination of public health information.