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 227,923,189 reported cases and 4,686,050 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 and emergence of new variants. 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 September 17, 2021, as reported by Our World In Data, 42.8% of the world population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, 5.86 billion doses have been administered globally and 29.91 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 September 17, 2021 Jamaica has confirmed a total of 77,989 COVID-19 cases and 1,768 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.
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 All Travelers
All travelers to The Bahamas aged 2 years and above, whether vaccinated or not, are now required to obtain a negative COVID-19 test , taken no more than five (5) days prior to the date of arrival in The Bahamas.
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 12 years old and older must obtain a negative a negative COVID-19 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.
Vaccinated travelers 12 years and over and all children aged 2 – 11 are now required to obtain a negative COVID-19 test (either a Rapid Antigen Test or PCR).
Once in possession of a negative COVID-19 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 September 17, 2021, The Bahamas has recorded a total of 19,795 COVID-19 cases and 469 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 – COVID-19 Update
Trinidad and Tobago officially reopened its borders to international travel on 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 previously closed effective midnight March 22, 2020.
Vaccine Combinations Allowed
The approved COVID-19 vaccines and combinations allowed for entry of non-nationals into the country are:
- Pfizer-BioNTech – Approved December 31, 2020
- AstraZeneca – Approved February 15, 2021
- Janssen (Johnson and Johnson) – Approved March 12, 2021
- Moderna-NIAID – Approved April 30, 2021
- Sinopharm BIBP – Approved May 7, 2021
- Sinovac-CoronaVac – Approved June 1, 2021
- First dose AstraZeneca and second dose Pfizer-BioNTech – Approved June 15, 2021
- First dose AstraZeneca and second dose Moderna-NIAID – Approved July 30, 2021
State of Emergency Continues
The country is currently under a State of Emergency, inclusive of a curfew. Curfew hours are currently 9:00 pm – 5:00 am daily.
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 September 17, 2021, Trinidad and Tobago has recorded a total of 47,925 COVID-19 cases and 1,397 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 September 17, 2021, the total number of positive COVID-19 cases in Aruba is 15,177 with the related death toll now standing at 156.
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 September 01, 2021. The Aruba government has also temporarily suspended the option for providing proof of vaccination, effective August 01, 2021.
Effective September 02, 2021, the following safety measures have been added:
Curfew no longer in effect
All establishments are required to close by 12:00 am at the latest. This is not applicable for establishments at hotel properties. Closing times per hotel may differ, please check with your hotel for more information.
Wearing a mask is mandatory at specific places in Aruba by government regulation. Visitors and locals alike are expected to have a mask with them at all times to use in the mandated locations indicated below, as well as any other instances where social distancing is not possible.
- All inbound visitors ages 15 and older must wear a mask during flight to Aruba and in the airport in Aruba
- Wearing a mask is mandatory in any indoor public space
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 – Travel Bubble Discontinued
Barbados has updated its Travel Guidelines and Protocols effective September 10, 2021. Updates include discontinuation of the travel bubble, quarantine payment and changes to countries of special consideration.
Travel Bubble Discontinued
The travel bubble which was previously implemented from July 17, 2021 has been discontinued effective August 21, 2021. This was due to increased positivity rates and cases in the selected Caribbean countries.
The bubble previously allowed fully vaccinated travelers from Grenada, Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Anguilla, Montserrat, Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba, St. Maarten, Turks and Caicos, Cayman Islands and Bermuda who present a valid pre-flight negative PCR test, to be exempt from further quarantine or testing upon arrival in Barbados.
Presently, all persons who are required to quarantine will now be required to do so at approved quarantine properties at their own expense .
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
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. Persons, whether fully vaccinated or unvaccinated, who have travelled through or from these countries within the last 21 days, must arrive in Barbados with a valid COVID-19 standard PCR test taken within three days prior to travel; have a COVID-19 standard PCR test conducted on arrival at the airport; complete seven days in-room quarantine with no exceptions; be tested on the eighth day and on receipt of a negative test result, can leave quarantine.
The full list of countries of concern/special consideration may be viewed at Travel Guidelines and Protocols.
The following remains 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 September 17, 2021 Barbados has reported a total of 6,248 COVID-19 cases and the related death toll is now 54.
Find more information about the COVID-19 in Barbados here:
Travel to Montserrat – COVID-19 Update
As of September 17, 2021 the the total number of positive cases in Montserrat remains at 31 with only 1 fatality reported in April 2020. There are currently 6 active cases 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 July 12, 2021.
Fully vaccinated travelers are 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 September 17, 2021 the total number of COVID-19 cases in St. Kitts and Nevis is now 1,589 with 9 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 September 17, 2021 Antigua and Barbuda has reported a total of 2,463 COVID-19 cases and the related death toll is now 55. There are currently 857 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 5 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 second most affected country in the Caribbean region after Cuba. As of September 17, 2021 it has reported a total of 354,443 COVID-19 cases and 4,025 related deaths.
Most travelers do not need to present a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival to enter the Dominican Republic. Airports and other ports of entry will perform a quick, aleatory breath test to a percentage of passengers, and all those who present symptoms, upon arrival. Passengers under the age of five and crew members are exempt from this procedure. Passengers who present a vaccination card no less than 3 weeks after the last dose was placed or a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to arrival in the Dominican Republic will be exempted from the random test. 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.
All passengers and crew members arriving in the Dominican Republic from Australia, Brazil, Spain, Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Iran, Ireland, Kuwait, Monaco, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Senegal, South Africa, Sweden, Syria, Thailand, Tunisia and United Kingdom (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales) must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken no more than 72 hours prior to arrival or a vaccination card no less than 3 weeks after the last dose was administered. In case of crew members not presenting the vaccination card or PCR test, they must remain confined in their hotel or accommodation. This measure also applies to all passengers coming from the aforementioned countries arriving to the Dominican Republic from another country, and to those who have been in those countries in the last 14 days.
Passengers under the age of 5 from the aforementioned countries are exempt from the PCR requirement.
A detailed description of travel requirements for the Dominican Republic updates as of September 09, 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.