Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 2, 2021 (SKNIS): The Ministry of Health has worked assiduously to curb the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus across the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis by ensuring that a large number of the population are vaccinated against the virus.
In an effort to return to some semblance of normalcy and economic activity throughout the Federation, the Government has relaxed the quarantine period for fully vaccinated inbound travellers to only twenty-four (24) hours ahead of the Christmas and Carnival seasons. Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Hazel Laws, during the December 1, 2021, NEOC COVID-19 Press Briefing reiterated the position of the Government in relation to the quarantine requirements.
“Inbound travelers to the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, if you are fully vaccinated, you have to submit a negative PCR-Test done within seventy-two (72) hours of travelling to the Federation. Once you land, you go into quarantine for twenty-four (24) hours. At present, persons are getting their samples done and result well within that 24-hour period, and then once your result is negative you are free to integrate into the society. So, that’s the protocol that is invoked right now. This measure shall remain in place for at least another week or two until we gather more information regarding the Omicron variant. Those who are in pre-approved home quarantine are still required to take a COVID-19 certified vehicle to either of the venues which are the Pogson Hospital, Mary Charles Hospital or Joseph N. France General Hospital (JNF) to get your sample taken,” said CMO Dr. Laws.
The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis has decided to observe incoming passengers over the next fourteen (14) days in an effort to identify any possible cases of the Omicron COVID-19 variant arriving into the Federation. CMO Dr. Laws also spoke to the requirements for unvaccinated and partially vaccinated incoming passengers to the Federation.
“All vaccinated tourists including those arriving by cruise or by air will be allowed to visit any of the approved tourist attraction sites or beaches. So, both the cruise and lay-over passenger who would have completed their quarantine can integrate into the society. For the unvaccinated or partially vaccinated inbound passenger the quarantine period is now reduced from fourteen (14) days to nine (9) days if you are coming into the Federation for returning nationals,” said CMO Dr. Laws.
The Omicron variant has been designated a Variant of Concern by the World Health Organization (WHO), and there are several actions the WHO recommends countries to undertake, including enhancing surveillance and sequencing of cases; sharing genome sequences on publicly available databases, such as GISAID; reporting initial cases or clusters to WHO; performing field investigations and laboratory assessments to better understand if Omicron has different transmission or disease characteristics, or impacts the effectiveness of vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics or public health and social measures.