Nationals and non-nationals traveling to Dominica who fail to adhere to mandatory quarantine will have to pay a penalty as Government seeks to tighten enforcement of the country’s entry protocols.
Coordinator of the Reopening of Borders Program, Dr. Laura Esprit, made that announcement at a press conference last week where it was announced that Dominica had recorded another confirmed case of COVID-19.
“As it relates to penalties, the following penalties have been approved: the penalty for non-adherence to mandatory quarantine in the Commonwealth of Dominica is EC$5000 or 6 months imprisonment and the penalty for providing false information on your health questionnaire would be EC$1000 or 3 months imprisonment,” she revealed.
In terms of the updated protocols approved by the cabinet as of August 20, 2020, applicable to all travelers both nationals and non-nationals, Dr. Esprit said the risk classification system has been modified and several parameters were taken into consideration in an effort to classify countries and territories in four groupings for which the protocol will vary.
She said the country risk classification is expected to be reviewed on a weekly basis, but standard grouping are as follows:
- CARICOM Travel Bubble
- Low-risk countries
- Medium-risk countries
- High-Risk Countries
Dr. Esprit explained that travelers from any risk classification category must have traveled directly from the country of origin and have been in that country for at least 21 days prior to arrival or in transit countries will also influence the risk classification
“Bearing in mind there is at least one in transit stop before arrival into the Commonwealth of Dominica, in order for this process to be less confusing to you, I recommend 3 things,” she added, “1. Note your place of origin, 2. Note your in transit ports, 3. Only focus on where this country fits within the risk classification and what specific protocols apply.”
She mentioned that if the protocols differ, as a guide, one should follow the one that falls within the high risk or the highest spectrum.
“For example, I am hoping to travel to Dominica from the USA which is deemed high risk based on the specified criteria, but I must transit through Antigua which is considered to be in the CARICOM travel bubble, hence a different classification…,” Dr. Esprit explained.
She noted that regarding protocols for countries within the CARICOM travel bubble, the pre-arrival process mandates that the traveler only completes an online health questionnaire, at least 24 hours prior to arrival in Dominica. Website”domcovid19.dominica.gov.dm
“Upon disembarkation, the traveler is expected to sanitize their hands, undergo a health assessment to include a temperature check, undertake a rapid diagnostic test and await results which may take up to 20 minutes,” Dr. Esprit added. “Providing that your rapid test is negative, your result is negative, the online risk assessment is acceptable and the traveler has a normal temperature upon arrival, then the traveler is expected to advance to immigration and customs for processing,” she stated.
Protocols for countries deemed low risk, like the CARICOM travel bubble Dr. Esprit said the pre-arrival process mandates that in addition to completing the online health questionnaire, prior to getting into Dominica, a negative PCR result recorded within 24 to 72 hours prior to arrival in Dominica must be uploaded on the online platform.
“As a result of this action notification of health clearance to travel will be issued for which travelers are expected to present this notification to airlines prior to boarding and upon disembarkation into Dominica,” she explained.
She said upon arrival from the ports travelers coming from low risk countries will be monitored for 7 days.
The same requirement applies to the pre-arrival process for low and medium countries.
However, Dr. Esprit made it clear that upon arrival in Dominica, travelers from medium risk countries will be monitored for 14 days.
“The difference though, is as an option to the 14-day monitoring, a traveler can decide to have a PCR test done on day 5 whilst being monitored at their place of residence,” she said.
Dr. Esprit continued, “If the result is negative there will be no further monitoring at their place of residence.”
The same requirements also apply for travelers from high risk countries.
“Travelers from high risk countries are subjected to a rapid PCR Test,” she said. “If the test is positive a PCR test will be administered immediately by means of swabbing and the traveler will await results in a government-approved facility at the travelers expense.”
She continued, “If the test is negative the traveler will be transported to mandatory quarantine at the government-operated quarantine facility or the government-certified private property for 5 to 7 days.”
She said this will allow for PCR test to be done on day 5 to await test results up to an additional 48 hours.
“Again if the PCR is positive, hospital admission is mandated, but if the same is read as negative, that’s the one that is done on day 5, then the traveler will be deemed medically cleared and will be subjected to scheduled and unscheduled checks,” Dr. Esprit stated.
She explained that fees will be charged with respect to all travelers coming into the country.
“The cost for the PCR Test is EC$100 or US$40,” she said. “The fees for quarantine which applies to the very first night and that’s for accommodation and sanitization, that would cost EC$400 or US$150 per person. Again, that is for the first night.”
The fee for an additional night is EC$225 or US$90, “and that’s just for accommodation.”
The rates for meals will be as follows: “EC$15 or $US6 for breakfast, EC$20 or US$8 for lunch and EC$20 or EC$8 for dinner.”
Dr. Esprit urged the public to remain in a state of vigilance.
“Travelers and the public alike are further encouraged to adhere to the public, health and social guidelines previously reiterated and these include, of course, the wearing of your face masks at all times, even during the arrival process up to departure as well as in public places,” she advised.
She also stressed the importance of physical distancing, practising of respiratory etiquette and personal sanitization and following the instructions provided by the health team and the Ministry of Health.
Since Dr. Esprit’s announcement, Dominica has recorded another case of COVID-19 taking the total number of active cases to 2 and the overall number of confirmed cases, to 20.