On Friday, the Ministry of Health and Wellness in conjunction with the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) released the country’s updated travel protocols which will see the U.K. moving to the High-Risk category effective October 1, 2020.
Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Senator the Hon. Lisa Cummins, spoke to the reason for the change. “We have been closely following the developments in the U.K., particularly the surge in their COVID-19 numbers within the past week which Prime Minister Boris Johnson referred to as a second wave. These large increases are of concern to our public health officials, who have recommended the new classification of the U.K. to the High-Risk category,” she said.
Visitors travelling from the U.K.—in addition to the mandatory COVID-19 PCR test taken at least 72-hours prior to arrival in Barbados—will now also be required to undergo a second COVID-19 PCR test in Barbados, five days after the date of their first accepted test.
Until the second test is taken, visitors from the U.K. will remain in hotels designated by the Ministry of Health and Wellness and their movements will be restricted within that property. They will also be monitored for seven days after arriving in Barbados, including daily temperature checks and reports to their assigned health officer.
“Travel has changed. In light of COVID-19, we all understand that it will not be business as usual and we have to prioritize the health of all parties involved. We welcome all visitors to our shores, however we must ensure that we do so safely and responsibly. Many of our visitors are traveling to have that mental health break from the challenges of going through this pandemic. We need to ensure that we can welcome them to a Barbados that is able to keep them safe and healthy. I am confident that our protocols, as we continue to revise them in keeping with the fluidity of the situation, accomplish this goal.”
Public health gatekeepers
Cummins lauded the work of the Ministry of Health and Wellness, adding that “Since we resumed commercial flights in July, our public health officials have been our gatekeepers, proactively managing the flow of passengers through our airport. And if you examine our track record, you’ll see that thanks to our protocols and the round the clock work of our professionals, we have been able to capture almost all of the COVID-19 cases at the point of entry. This has allowed us to manage our risk and to ensure that anyone impacted by the virus has been isolated from the wider community.
At the same time, our hoteliers have done an exceptional job of ensuring that their properties are able to welcome guests safely. I have toured several properties in the past few weeks and it has been impressive to see how much attention they are paying to sanistisation and keeping people safe while they are enjoying the facilities. It’s peace of mind that many people want to have in this environment.