(CMC) — St Lucia has welcomed the decision by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to remove its coronavirus (COVID-19) travel warning for the island.
Prime Minister Allen Chastanet said that “this is even more validation of our country’s success in the management of COVID-19.
“We have to keep following our protocols and ensuring that pre-testing is done before visitors arrive in St Lucia. This takes the support and cooperation of all the stakeholders in the travel industry,” he added.
In its previous ‘Level 3: Reconsider Travel’ notice, the CDC urged Americans to avoid non-essential travel to St Lucia due to serious risks to safety and security.
St Lucia was not the only country to have been issued with the warning by the CDC, even as the United States grapples with more than 170,000 deaths and an infection rate of more than five million from the coronavirus.
But in its latest advisory issued on Monday, the CDC placed St Lucia at “’Watch – Level 1′ saying “COVID-19 risk in St Lucia is low, new cases are decreasing or stable.
“CDC recommends that people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 talk to their healthcare providers before traveling to St Lucia. COVID-19 risk in St Lucia is low. Over the last 28 days, new cases of COVID-19 in St Lucia decreased or stabilised.”
The CDC said that travellers to the island are advised to check with the Office of Foreign Affairs or Ministry of Health of St Lucia or the US Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Country Information page for details about entry requirements and restrictions for arriving travellers, such as mandatory testing or quarantine.
“Local policies at your destination may require you to be tested for COVID-19 before you are allowed to enter the country. If you test positive on arrival, you may be required to isolate for a period of time. You may even be prevented from returning to the United States, as scheduled. You might consider getting tested before your trip,” the CDC added.
St Lucia has recorded 26 cases of COVID-19, only one of which is active. No deaths have occurred on island.
A statement from the St Lucia Tourism Authority (SLTHA) Tuesday said the island’s “response to the COVID-19 pandemic in ensuring a safe and strategic approach to the reopening of the economy, is receiving rave reviews the world over”.
St Lucia welcomed its first commercial flight on July 9, putting in place several protocols, including pretesting within seven days of arrival in the destination, mandatory screening on arrival, use of certified taxis and hotels, a 14-day quarantine period for non-bubble countries, the wearing of masks in public and observing physical distancing.
Chairman of the National COVID-19 Response Committee and Minister for Tourism, Dominic Fedee said, “it is an honour to see that the strategic approach to responsibly reopening the tourism sector, dedication and sacrifice of the government, frontline workers and the cooperation of the public is topical in international jurisdictions.
“All measures by the government are geared are ensuring that livelihoods are restored while keeping local communities protected from the virus.”
The authorities here said that St Lucia, through the Caribcation brand is working assiduously to introduce its extended stay programme where visitors would be able to work, stay and play, all while enjoying the country’s culture.
For the period of July to August, St Lucia has welcomed 5,897 travellers through the approved ports of entry, of which 4,413 are visitors.