St. Kitts and Nevis has closed its borders to visitors who have not been fully vaccinated due to the late-May emergence of 16 new coronavirus cases in the Caribbean nation.
The move is one of many instituted late last week by Prime Minister Timothy Harris in an effort to stop a new spread of the virus. He also used the announcement as a plea to residents to get vaccinated.
“In this war to defeat COVID-19, all we have are ourselves working and supporting each other in doing the right thing to protect ourselves and our loved ones,” Harris said in a national radio address. “The more people immunized, the less vulnerable we will be to the events like those of the last week.”
Visitors planning to travel to St. Kitts and Nevis must be fully vaccinated at least two weeks prior to arrival, according to the new rules, which took effect May 29.
They must complete a traveler authorization form and submit a copy of their vaccination card as well as show proof of a negative COVID test taken 72 hours prior to travel. Visitors will receive an approval letter to enter the federation.
Upon arrival, travelers must vacation in place for nine days at approved hotels, where they will be free to partake in all hotel activities. If staying beyond nine days, visitors must take another PVR test on the ninth day at their own expense — approximately $150. If and when the results come back negative, they are free to do anything on the islands.
There are seven approved St. Kitts and Nevis hotels where visitors can stay: Four Seasons, Golden Rock Inn, Marriott Vacation Beach Club, Montpelier Plantation and Beach, Paradise Beach, Park Hyatt, and Royal St. Kitts Hotel. Travelers hoping to stay at a private rental home or condo must have pre-approval from the government.
“Strict adherence to non-pharmaceutical measures — that is mask wearing, sanitizing, and physical and social distancing — must be observed in the public and at places of business and worship,” Harris said. “Remember your personal responsibility in this fight is of utmost importance.”
Children who have not been vaccinated can travel to St. Kitts and Nevis with their vaccinated parents, but the vacation-in-place rules extend to 14 days for those families, according to the new rules.
In addition to the new entry rules, Harris has instituted a national curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. nightly, closed schools for two weeks, and reduced capacity on public transportation and ferries to 50 percent.
While the 16 new cases may not seem like a large number, it is compared to how the federation had been doing. Since March 2020, there have been only 60 confirmed cases.
As of last week, more than 22,000 residents had been vaccinated, or about 49 percent of the population.
“I wish to commend all who stepped forward and did the right thing not to protect themselves, but everyone else in the blessed Federation through vaccination,” Harris said. “We are getting closer to our target, but we need you who have not yet done so to come forward and be vaccinated. Now is not the time for hesitancy.”
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