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 190,435,142 reported cases and 4,094,523 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”.
Vaccination Update – 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. As at July 17, 2021, as reported by Our World In Data, 26.1% of the world population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, 3.61 billion doses have been administered globally and 30.46 million are now administered each day.
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. As more people become vaccinated several countries have also revised their travel protocols in favor of vaccinated travelers. 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 July 17, 2021 Jamaica has confirmed a total of 50, 983 COVID-19 cases and 1,140 related deaths. This is the country with highest number of cases in the English-Speaking Caribbean.
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.
Until August 10, 2021, a person who is not a citizen of Jamaica, and has been in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru, India or Trinidad & Tobago within 14 days of their intended date of entry, will not be approved for travel.
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”
All travelers to Jamaica are reminded that the Government of Jamaica Controlled Entry Programme protocols must be observed at all times.
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 – Updated Testing Requirement for Vaccinated Travelers
Visitors travelling to The Bahamas from other countries who are fully vaccinated and have passed the two-week immunity period are currently exempted from COVID-19 testing requirements for entry and inter-island travel.
Unvaccinated travelers entering The Bahamas and/or those travelling inter-island from Nassau & Paradise Island, Grand Bahama Island, Abaco, Eleuthera or Harbour Island 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.
As part of the Bahamas Travel Health Visa application, travelers will be required to opt-in to COVID-19 health insurance that covers them for the duration of their stay in The Bahamas. The cost of insurance is included in the Bahamas Travel Health Visa application fee.
As of July 17, 2021, The Bahamas has recorded a total of 13,404 COVID-19 cases and 273 related deaths.
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 – Borders Re-Opened
Borders Officially Re-Opened
Trinidad and Tobago’ s borders have officially reopened to international travel effective today, July 17, 2021 with international flights allowed into Trinidad only. The entry requirements are as follows:
Three categories of people are being looked at:
- Category 1 – fully vaccinated citizens or legal residents of Trinidad and Tobago
- Category 2 – unvaccinated citizens or legal residents of Trinidad and Tobago
- Category 3 – other persons unvaccinated
The Prime Minister indicated that at this time non-nationals who are unvaccinated will not be allowed to enter the country.
Citizens who are fully vaccinated will be allowed entry having shown proof of a negative PCR test 72 hours or less before arrival.
These citizens will not be required to quarantine.
Children with vaccinated parents will also be allowed to go home.
A fully vaccinated person is defined as someone who has received the required number of doses of a WHO-approved vaccine and two weeks have elapsed since the final dose has been administered.
A citizen who is not vaccinated must go into state-supervised quarantine for 14 days at their own expense.
These individuals must also show a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours.
The Prime Minister added that a digitalized system in the form of an app will be used to allow people to submit their personal information.
The government has instituted a TT Travel Pass which is a mandatory requirement for all travelers entering the country. All travelers must enter travel, COVID-19 vaccine and COVID-19 test information to acquire a TT Travel Pass online via www.ttravelpass.gov.tt before being allowed to enter the country.
Trinidad and Tobago’s borders were closed effective midnight March 22, 2020.
State of Emergency Continues
The country is currently under a State of Emergency, inclusive of a curfew, which implemented by the Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Rowley during a press conference on May 15, 2021. Curfew hours are currently:
- Monday – Thursday: 9:00 pm – 5:00 am
- Friday – Sunday: 9:00 pm – 5:00 am (weekend curfew hours reverted effective July 03, 2021)
- Public Holidays: 10:00 am – 5:00 am (following day)
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
As of July 17, 2021, Trinidad and Tobago has recorded a total of 35,679 COVID-19 cases and 982 related deaths.
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 July 17, 2021, the total number of positive COVID-19 cases in Aruba is 11,199 with the related death toll remaining at 108.
Travel to Aruba is now open to most countries. Travel from Brazil, India and South Africa is allowed once again. Travel from Venezuela is still not permitted since prior to the pandemic.
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 July 13, 2021. As of July 14, 2021, certain eligible US travelers who meet the requirements may provide proof of vaccination instead of testing. Read about this option to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination for US travelers.
Effective July 05, 2021 several COVID-19 related measures would have also been removed:
– Business closing time: will be based on normal legally permitted closing time per type of business
– Seating limitations: e.g. at restaurants will be back to normal occupancy allowances
– Social distancing: 1.5m will no longer be required
– Dancing: will be permitted
– Casinos & Bingos: will be back to normal operations
– Alcohol Ban: will no longer be in effect
– Nightclubs / Bars: will be allowed to re-open / be back to normal operations
Face masks are not required by law but still recommended. Businesses have discretion on whether to require face masks.
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 – Entry Protocol Changes for Vaccinated Travelers
Barbados has updated its Travel Guidelines and Protocols. 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.
The travel history of a fully vaccinated traveler, where they have travelled from or transited through countries of special consideration within the 21 day period immediately prior to arrival, will determine which protocols apply. Countries of special consideration are those where the prevalence of certain variants of COVID-19 are deemed of particular concern to Barbados Public Health Officials.
Countries of Special Consideration:
- South Africa
Effective May 30, 2021, the following is currently in place:
Vaccinated Travelers will now be required to take a second rapid PCR test upon arrival at the airport or at approved accommodations. They will then be free move around on the same day or within 1-2 days dependent on the return of their test results.
Nonvaccinated persons will be subject to 5 days quarantine before their second PCR test and will only be allowed to move freely after the return of their negative result. Totaling approximately 7-8 days inclusive of quarantine.
Travelers are also encouraged to download the BIMSafe app from Google Play or the Apple Store prior to travel. The app will allow visitors to complete their online ED form, upload negative COVID-19 PCR test results and complete their health questionnaire, all from one centralized place. The App also provides capabilities for monitoring temperature and symptoms during the 7 days after a traveler’s arrival. View the updated Travel Guidelines and Protocols for more details on the BIMSafe app.
As of July 17, 2021 Barbados has reported a total of 4,241 COVID-19 cases and the related death toll remains at 48.
Find more information about the COVID-19 in Barbados here:
Travel to Montserrat – COVID-19 Update
As of July 17, 2021 the the total number of positive cases in Montserrat is now at 21 with only 1 fatality reported in April 2020. There is currently 1 active case on the island.
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 Protocols Eased for Vaccinated Travelers
St. Kitts and Nevis has updated its Health and Travel Protocols effective May 29, 2021.
Speaking during Leadership Matters on April 27, 2021, Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris stated that “fully vaccinated cultural/entertainment events can be favourably considered, whereby only fully vaccinated patrons are allowed entrance. Recommended start date week of July 19, 2021.”
Fully vaccinated travelers will be required to submit a copy of their official Vaccination Record card including dates when doses were administered.
Visit knatravelform.kn to access the form, upload your test results, and Vaccination Record card details as required.
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.
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.
As of July 17, 2021 the total number of COVID-19 cases in St. Kitts and Nevis is now 548 with 3 COVID-19 related deaths reported to date.
St. Kitts & Nevis was the last country in the Americas to confirm a case of the virus.
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 July 17, 2021 Antigua and Barbuda has reported a total of 1,268 COVID-19 cases and the related death toll remains at 42. There are currently no active cases on the islands.
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 July 17, 2021 it has reported a total of 336, 693 COVID-19 cases and 3,910 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.
A detailed description of travel requirements for the Dominican Republic updates as of July 14, 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.at30