ST. KITTS AND NEVIS GOVERNMENT EASES MORE COVID-19 PROTOCOLS AS FEDERATION SURPASSES 80 PERCENT VACCINATION STATUS
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, December 01, 2021 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – Having achieved the major milestone of 80 percent vaccination status for adults, the Government has moved to ease three major COVID-19 restrictions in St. Kitts and Nevis effective Friday, December 03, 2021.
In making the announcement during the Wednesday, December 01 Sitting of the National Assembly, Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris stated that with this high level of population immunity, “the experts believe based on the current evidence that we should be able to absorb more risk and not overwhelm our health system and safely continue to open the economy.”
In light of this, Prime Minister Harris announced that, “All vaccinated tourists arriving whether by cruise or air with a negative PCR test can now move freely with access to all tourist sites, beaches etc. In other words, you can go to Brimstone Hill, you can go to all the designated tourist sites once you are fully vaccinated and it doesn’t matter [if you come by cruise] or you are coming by air. We are treating the vaccinated tourists who would have come with their negative PCR tests in a similar manner in terms of their access to touristic sites in the country. They of course will have to abide by the non-pharmaceutical protocols. Personal responsibility is still at the core of this fight and all our citizens and residents have an obligation to continue to use the non-pharmaceutical measures intended for their protection.”
The second major change to the protocols will allow for entertainers to organize and stage mass events for fully vaccinated persons with 75 percent space capacity.
Additionally, the quarantine period for unvaccinated or partially vaccinated persons will now be reduced from 14 days to nine+ days. Dr. Harris said, “This we hope will allow more of our people to return home from abroad and to return in time to enjoy their Christmas in St. Kitts and Nevis.”
These three COVID-19 protocols were among five changes the Government considered instituting once the country achieved the 80 percent threshold of population immunity. However, with the recent identification of a new variant of the disease, known as Omicron, the Government decided to retain two of the five measures.
The protocols that will remain in place are the barriers at Port Zante established principally to protect citizens and residents, as well as the requirement of a negative PCR test to enter the Federation. Persons 12 years and over who are fully vaccinated with a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival will continue to be required to have a negative PCR test before being released from quarantine.
“We believe it’s prudent, advisable, and safe to temporarily halt the implementation of these two measures of relaxation until we learn more about Omicron variant,” Prime Minister Harris added.
The honourable prime minister said his Government will continue to be guided by the advice of the World Health Organization (WHO) and local health experts who “reminded us that we are dealing with a deadly virus that keeps mutating and we must continue to adjust our strategy to keep it contained. We will therefore, like the rest of the world, opt to obtain more information on the Omicron variant over the next 7 to 14 days to guide our decision-making process.”