Guyana Imposes Travel Restrictions On Passengers From China

(CMC) – Guyana is the first Caribbean Community (Caricom) country to impose new entry requirements for travellers coming from China where there has been an upsurge in the number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases.

A recently released statement said that variants of the SARS-CoC-2 virus continue to emerge worldwide and in light of the present surge in COVID-19 cases in certain parts of the world, and to decrease the chance for entry of a novel variant of concern, the Guyana Ministry of Health will be implementing a requirement for a negative COVID-19 test.

“Starting from January 8, 2023, all passengers two years and older, originating from the People’s Republic of China will be required to get a COVID-19 test (such as a PCR test or an antigen) no more than two days before their departure from the PRC, Hong Kong, or Macau, and show a bona fide negative test result to the airline/carrier upon departure,” the statement said.

“A no-less than 48 hours or documentation of recovery for all passengers (two years and older) travelling directly or in transit to Guyana from the People’s Republic of China, and the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong, or Macau,” will also be required according to the health ministry.

The health ministry said the requirement applies to these passengers, regardless of nationality and vaccination status, and will also apply to people travelling from the PRC via third-country transit and to passengers on connecting flights to Guyana.

“Passengers who tested positive more than 10 days before the flight can provide documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in lieu of a negative test result… and airlines and other Ports of Entry must confirm the negative COVID-19 test results or documentation of recovery for all passengers before they board or deny boarding to non-compliant passengers,” the health ministry continued to advise.

The statement said the requirement to show a bona fide negative test result has been shown to decrease the number of infected passengers boarding airlines and it will help to slow the spread of the virus as we work to identify and understand any potential new variant that may emerge.

“The Ministry of Health will continue to monitor travel patterns, adjust our approach as needed, and keep the Guyanese public informed in a timely manner,” the statement said.

The announcement by Guyana comes even as executive director of the Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CAPHA), Dr Joy St John, on Thursday said that several coronavirus (COVID-19) variants that are causing surges in the United States, the United Kingdom and China have “been circulating in the Caribbean since last year”.

But Dr St John urged regional countries against shutting down their borders or implementing travel restrictions as a means of curbing the spread of the virus.

Speaking at the latest edition of the virtual series on “Global Health Reporting Initiative: Vaccines and Immunization in the Caribbean,” organised by the Jamaica-based Media Institute of the Caribbean, the CARPHA official said the agency is working with member states in dealing with the situation.

“…we are scientifically unjustified in trying to stop any particular country from coming to the region because we fear the various COVID variants. We are not seeing the level of illness that we saw when Delta was circulating rapidly in great numbers,” she said.