As Caribbean countries reopen their borders during the COVID-19 pandemic, a regional travel bubble that initially includes Dominica and seven (7) other CARICOM countries, takes effect today, September 18.
CARICOM Heads of Government made the decision at a Special Emergency Session on September 11, to implement the bubble in response to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly on travel and tourism.
In a statement, CARICOM said the leaders were guided by a comprehensive report from the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in agreeing to the bubble.
It said CARPHA provided recommendations on how the bubble would operate and laid out the eligibility criteria for countries to participate.
Some of 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.
Additionally, the level of risk would be determined by the number 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, while CARPHA will assess relevant data to advise on further participation.
The leaders agreed that travellers from countries within the bubble would be allowed entry without being subjected to PCR testing prior to arrival and would also not have to undergo quarantine restrictions. Travellers may, however, be subjected to screening on arrival.
The other countries initially included in the bubble are Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Montserrat, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia and St Vincent & the Grenadines.
Other CARICOM member-states and associate members will be allowed to participate WHEN they meet the established criteria