Caribbean destinations are increasingly closing their borders to stem COVID-19’s spread, even as the illness appears on more islands. The smaller sister island of St. Kitts and Nevis is implementing its own measures to halt the COVID-19’s spread a day after St. Kitts, the larger island, reported the nation’s first two coronavirus cases.
One day after the dual-island nation covid-19.html” target=”_self” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”>closed its borders to commercial airline flights, ships and yachts through April 7, Nevis is implementing a visitor ban within its own island borders, said Jadine Yarde, the Nevis Tourism Authority’s CEO, in a statement.
Under the measures, Nevis nationals and residents currently overseas must remain offshore until the border closing is lifted. “It is a strong move,” said Yarde. “[Nevis] is serious about containing the spread of coronavirus.”
The border closure “does not come without serious consideration as tourism is hugely important to Nevis,” said Yarde. “However, our highest priority is the health and well-being of our people. We wish the best for all those interested in Nevis and we hope to see you when the time is right for us to accept visitors again.”
On Thursday COVID-19, a 24-year-old woman from the U.S. who arrived March 11, and 47-year-old male resident who is a close contact of the first case. “There is also indication of local transmission,” officials said in a statement Friday.
Both individuals displayed “mild symptoms” and have been placed in isolation. Anguilla Ministry of Health and Health Authority officials have implemented “aggressive contact tracing to identify every individual who may have come into close contact with this patient.”
All identified individuals will be placed under quarantine and tested, said officials. “Furthermore, additional social distancing measures for the general public will be announced shortly,” the statement adds.
Anguilla’s Ministry of Health & Social Development earlier launched a platform designed to serve as a central space “for all official news and updates” related to COVID-19. The site includes updates from Anguilla’s ministry of health, ministry of tourism, the Air & Sea Ports Authority and the Anguilla Tourist Board (ATB).
While tourism-reliant Caribbean countries are closing their borders to visitors to battle COVID-19, officials continue to urge residents to practice social distancing and other anti-COVID sanitary practices as they prepare for tourism’s future return.
Yarde said Nevis is launching #We’reWithYou, a social media campaign “to convey that we are all in this together and that the island looks forward to again welcoming visitors in the near future.”
NTA officials are also challenging past Nevis visitors to share “their notable moments and memories on the island” using the hashtag #SeeYouSoonNevis.
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WTTC Unveils Safe Travels Protocols for Airlines, Tour Operators and More
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) has unveiled a new round of safety measures aimed at airlines, airports, tour operators and meeting and event organizers in an effort to propel the post-COVID-19 recovery.
WTTC previously released its Safe Travels protocols for the hospitality sector as well as outdoor retail businesses.
Developed following close consultation with WTTC members such as the International Air Transport Association (IATA), Emirates Group and Etihad, among others, guidance for the aviation industry includes enhanced cleaning procedures, personal protective equipment (PPE) and retraining for staff, signage to limit interaction and queuing at touchpoints and the implementation of more contactless processes.
WTTC is also recommending that airlines limit movement within the cabin as much as possible by boarding passengers from the back of the plane to the front and from the window seats out to the aisle seats.
“COVID-19 is a gamechanger for the travel and tourism sector, requiring us to enhance our approach to health and safety to protect our travelers and workforce,” said Alexandre de Juniac, Director General and CEO at IATA, in a statement. “Aviation is the business of freedom and it is vital to enable its restart on a safe basis. IATA is delighted to lend its framework and collaborate with WTTC on the Aviation Protocols as part of its Safe Travels initiative. This is an excellent example of the industry solidarity and cooperation that will be so vital to ensuring a strong recovery for travel and tourism.”
Meanwhile, tour operators are being asked to enhance disinfection and deep cleaning practices for coaches and other vehicles as well as to roll out pre-allocated seating plans with no rotation and explore staggered timing for access to venues, hotels and restaurants, among other measures.
Convention centers and meetings and event organizers are encouraged to implement physical distancing, reduce venue capacity limits, consider pre-arrival risk assessment questionnaires for participants and create isolation units outside the venue where possible for anyone showing COVID-19 symptoms.
“For the first time ever, the global private sector has rallied around our Safe Travels protocols which will create the consistency needed to allow a re-invigorated Travel & Tourism sector re-open for business,” stated WTTC President & CEO, Gloria Guevara. “Among the most important of these measures are those which will enable the aviation sector to take-off. Aviation’s return is critical to help repower the global economic recovery.”
“WTTC aviation protocols were created in close collaboration with ACI and IATA. We thank them and their leaders Angela Gittens and Alexandre de Juniac for their guidance, as it is vital we restore consumer confidence to get people traveling and flying safely,” she added. “The expertise from large and small tour operators contributed to define the new experience via tour operators and visiting event venues again, and were defined in the coordination of experts from this segment, through these robust global measures which have been embraced by businesses around the world.”
Visit WTTC.org to view a complete breakdown of the latest Safe Travels global protocols.
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