The global COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone in one way or another over the past year. Here is a COVID-19 update on how it has affected us and an update on what to expect when traveling to the Caribbean islands.
About COVID-19 – It first appeared in Wuhan, China on December 01, 2019 and the highly infectious virus rapidly spread throughout the world in early 2020. According to Worldometer there have been 134,064,296 reported cases and 2,906,542 COVID-19 related deaths to date. The countries with the highest number of cases and COVID-19 related deaths to date are United States, Brazil and India.
COVID-19 Response – The global response included implementation of laws to restrict gatherings to limit contact, social distancing, wearing of face masks. For many countries schools, businesses and all economic activity were initially closed and important events such as festivals and Carnivals were cancelled, rescheduled or postponed for obvious health and safety concerns. The travel industry was also severely affected as countries borders were closed, airlines and cruises grounded and travel grinded to a halt in many cases due to travel restrictions and bans.
As time has progressed, many countries have taken managed measures to reopen their countries amid the rampant spread of the virus. While cases continue to increase countries are trying to cope and adjust to “the new normal”.
Vaccines – After many trials and a race for a vaccine, several pharmaceutical companies have developed vaccines. Companies such as Pfizer-BioNTech, The University of Oxford and Astra-Zeneca and Moderna have developed vaccines which require 2 doses. Johnson & Johnson has also now developed a single dose vaccine. Several vaccine trials have taken place and vaccines are now being rolled out on a global scale.
Covid-19 Update Caribbean
The good news is most of the Caribbean islands have reopened their borders and are welcoming visitors again with some health restrictions. Here is an update on the travel requirements for visiting Jamaica, Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago, Aruba, Barbados, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda and Dominican Republic:
Travel to Jamaica – COVID-19 Update
As of April 08, 2021 Jamaica has confirmed a total of 41,604 COVID-19 cases and 646 related deaths. This is the country with highest number of cases in the English-Speaking Caribbean.
Effective March 4, 2021, all travelers to Jamaica, 12 years of age and over are required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR or Antigen test result to check in for a flight to Jamaica. The date of the sample collection must be within 3 days of the travel date.
All persons arriving in Jamaica will also be subject to a quarantine order according to the assigned traveler category.
The risk-based testing and quarantine protocols differ among the following four categories of passengers:
- Residents – Jamaican nationals and non-nationals ordinarily resident in Jamaica.
- Non-residents visiting Jamaica for tourism purposes staying within the “resilient corridor”
- Non-residents visiting Jamaica for business purposes
- Non-residents visiting Jamaica for other purposes including tourists not staying within the “resilient corridor”
Jamaica’s COVID-19 Travel Resource Centre provides detailed information for travel to the island.
Visit here for more general information about the COVID-19 in Jamaica:
Travel to Bahamas – COVID-19 Update
As of April 08, 2021, the Bahamas has recorded a total of 9,296 COVID-19 cases and 189 related deaths.
At present, all travelers to Bahamas who are 11 years old and older must obtain a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR (swab) test taken no more than 5 days prior to the date of arrival. The day the test is taken is considered day zero. Test must return a negative result for entry into The Bahamas.
Once in possession of a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test, travelers can apply for their required Bahamas Travel Health Visa on the Bahamas Travel Health Visa Application Website. Persons wishing to travel to Bahamas can visit the COVID-19 Travel Requirements page for all requirements to travel to Bahamas.
Visit here for some more information about the COVID-19 in the Bahamas:
Travel to Trinidad and Tobago – COVID-19 Update
As of April 08, 2021, Trinidad and Tobago has recorded a total of 8,235 COVID-19 cases and 145 related deaths.
Trinidad and Tobago’s borders were closed effective midnight March 22, 2020 and continue to remain closed to international travel for both nationals and non-nationals. Only international and regional cargo vessels and flights continue to operate under certain restrictions.
Nationals who wish to leave or return must apply for a travel exemption online via the Ministry of National Security website. Once approved they are accommodated via specially organized flights.
Persons are encouraged to stay at home as far as possible as the country’s community spread of COVID-19 is continuing to increase. Restrictions which are still in place include:
- Continued closure of teaching institutions. Online learning has been implemented at all levels
- Continued closure of daycare and other childcare facilities
- Mandatory use of face mask for persons over the age of 8
If you or a loved one develops symptoms of COVID-19, please call the hotline 877-WELL or 800-WELL (9355) for further guidance. If the person is severely ill, call the 811 (emergency hotline) or call ahead to the Accident and Emergency Department of your nearest hospital for help and go in immediately.
Find more information about the COVID-19 in Trinidad and Tobago here:
Travel to Aruba – COVID-19 Update
As of April 08, 2021, the total number of positive COVID-19 cases in Aruba is 9,834 with 92 related deaths.
Travel to Aruba is now open to most countries with the exception of Brazil. This is due to the confirmed presence of the the Brazil variant (also known as P.1) in Aruba. Travel from Venezuela is also not permitted since prior to the pandemic. Travel from South Africa is now restricted.
Travelers are required to complete an online immigration (ED) card
as well as purchase mandatory COVID-19 health insurance prior to travel. A negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours before arrival is also required. Travelers who do not provide a negative COVID-19 PCR prior to arrival must test upon arrival at the airport and isolate in their hotel until they receive a negative test result.
Mandatory requirements for travel to Aruba were updated effective March 26, 2021.
The mental health hotline for anyone feeling overwhelmed and going through stress and anxiety can speak directly to a psychologist remains. It is open from 2 pm to 10 pm.
Find more information about the COVID-19 in Aruba here:
Travel to Barbados – COVID-19 Update
As of April 08, 2021 Barbados has reported a total of 3,697 COVID-19 cases and 44 related deaths.
Barbados welcomed its first commercial flight of visitors on July 12, 2020 since suspension of flights in March. Presently, all travelers must complete the Barbados Online Immigration/Customs Form and submit 24 hours prior to travel. It is mandatory for all travelers to take a COVID-19 PCR test from an accredited or certified facility / laboratory within 3 days prior to arrival to enter Barbados.
All travelers will also be required to take a rapid antigen test on arrival.
Persons with a valid negative COVID-19 PCR test result will be quarantined at a designated holding hotel or approved villa at their own expense, and will be monitored for a period of 7 days. Travelers must take a second COVID-19 PCR test 5 days (120 hours) after arrival to Barbados. If the traveler obtains a negative result, that person will likely be released.
Effective February 03, 2021 updated Travel Guidelines and Protocols were released.
Find more information about the COVID-19 in Barbados here:
Travel to Montserrat – COVID-19 Update
As of April 08, 2021 the the total number of positive cases in Montserrat remains at 20 with only 1 fatality reported in April 2020.
Presently only Montserratians, permanent residents (spouse, child or other dependent of a Montserratian or permanent resident), member of the crew of an aircraft or ship, non-resident technician and persons who owns a habitable house or home in Montserrat are allowed to travel to Montserrat. The Access Declaration Form must be completed and submitted at least 72 hours prior to the expected date of arrival. Additionally, a negative PCR COVID-19 test result within 7 days prior to entry is required. Technicians will be required to take a COVID-19 test (PCR and/or serology) after entry into Montserrat.
A pre-travel registration process and other protocols have been implemented can be viewed here on the Government of Montserrat’s website.
Here are some useful links to get the latest updates on COVID-19 in Montserrat:
Travel to St Kitts and Nevis – COVID-19 Update
As of April 08, 2021 St. Kitts and Nevis had a total of 44 cases with no COVID-19 related deaths reported to date.
St. Kitts & Nevis was the last country in the Americas to confirm a case of the virus and among the first to report all cases having recovered with no deaths resulting from it.
While it is the smallest independent country in the Western Hemisphere, the Federation has one of the highest testing rates among CARICOM nations and in the Eastern Caribbean and uses only the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test which is the gold standard of testing.
Travelers are currently required to complete and submit the St. Kitts and Nevis Online Immigration/ Customs Form to seek approval for entry.
All incoming passengers must also submit a negative COVID-19 Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain reaction Laboratory Based Molecular Test (RT-PCR Test) done within 72 hours of travel at an ISO 17025/CLIA accredited laboratory.
The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis is currently not accepting RT-PCR tests for International Travelers, Nationals/Residents and Non-Nationals/Non-Residents conducted by LabCorp.
Acceptable COVID-19 PCR tests must be taken by nasopharyngeal sample. Self-samples, rapid tests, or home tests will be considered invalid.
A detailed list of travel requirements is available on St. Kitts and Nevis Tourism website.
Here are some useful links to get the latest updates on COVID-19 in St Kitts and Nevis:
Travel to Antigua and Barbuda – COVID-19 Update
As of April 08, 2021 Antigua and Barbuda has reported a total of 1,177 COVID-19 cases and 29 related deaths. State of Emergency has been extended until March 31, 2021.
At present, all arriving passengers by air must have a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR (real time polymerase chain reaction) test for SARS-CoV-2 using a nasopharyngeal or oropharyngeal swab taken within seven days of their flight. (This includes transiting passengers). Children below the age of 12 years, entering Antigua, DO NOT REQUIRE a COVID -19 RT-PCR test.
All arriving passengers must complete a Health Declaration Form and will be subjected to screening and temperature checks by Port Health Authorities upon arrival in Antigua and Barbuda.
A detailed list of requirements outlining protocols for persons wishing to travel to Antigua and Barbuda can be found at Updated Travel Advisory.
Here are some useful links to get the latest updates on COVID-19 in Antigua and Barbuda:
Travel to Dominican Republic – COVID-19 Update
The Dominican Republic is currently the most affected country in the Caribbean region. As of April 08, 2021 it has reported a total of 256,031 COVID-19 cases and 3,378 related deaths.
Aligning with the launch of the Responsible Tourism Recovery Plan, travelers no longer need to provide a negative PCR or COVID-19 test upon arrival. Instead, airports and other ports of entry will perform a quick, aleatory breath test to between 3% and 15% of passengers, and all those who present symptoms, upon arrival. Passengers under the age of five and crew members are exempt from this procedure. All passengers will also need to perform a temperature check. Passengers who present symptoms or whose test results are positive will be isolated and attended at authorized locations.
Until April 12, 2021, passengers traveling from the United Kingdom to the Dominican Republic are required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate issued not more than 72 hours before travel. Travelers that arrive to Dominican Republic without a negative PCR certificate are subject to COVID-19 testing upon arrival and must quarantine for the next 7 days in a government facility, at their own expense.
A detailed description of travel requirements for the Dominican Republic updates as of April 06, 2021 can be viewed at its Latest Updates page.
Here are some useful links to get latest updates on coronavirus in the Dominican Republic:
Additional information on COVID-19 and its impact on the region can be sourced at:
The Caribbean is open for travel and welcomes travelers from across the globe, however, in order to safeguard your health and the health of the residents on the islands please check the COVID-19 protocols for the island you wish to travel to. Enjoy your vacation and Stay safe