From September 18, 2020, a Caribbean Community (CARICOM) travel bubble will be established to resuscitate the inter-island travel and tourism sectors which have been struggling to survive since coronavirus (COVID-19) cases were detected in March.
CARICOM Heads took this decision following a Special Emergency Session on Friday 11 September.
The leaders were guided by a report from the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), which provided recommendations on how the Bubble would operate, and laid out the eligibility criteria for countries to participate.
The report recommended that only those countries with no cases and those in the low-risk category should be allowed to participate in the bubble.
Heads of Government agreed that travellers from countries within the bubble would be allowed entry without being subjected to PCR testing prior to arrival and would also not have to undergo quarantine restrictions.
Travellers may however be subjected to screening on arrival.
Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines will be in the bubble as they presently meet the criteria.
Other Member States and Associate Members will be allowed to participate when they meet the criteria.
CARICOM Chairman and Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines Dr Ralph Gonsalves hailed the development.
“Heads of Government look forward to more CARICOM countries joining the travel bubble as the region learns to live with this pandemic safely without destroying lives or livelihood,” Gonsalves said.
Meanwhile, the High Level Facilitation Council of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator have agreed to support CARICOM in global discussions on the virus.
Timothy Harris, prime minister of St Kitts and Nevis, represents CARICOM on High Level Facilitation Council of the ACT Accelerator.
The council held their first meeting last week.