Travel Bubble Bursts As COVID-19 Cases Continue To Rise In The Caribbean

(CMC) — The travel bubble which authorities in Barbados implemented, exempting people from select countries from further quarantine or testing upon arrival in Barbados, has been discontinued.

Countries with low COVID-19 positivity rates and low cases per 100,000 population, “every fortnight”, were allowed to be in the bubble which went into effect on July 17, this year.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Kenneth George said the decision to discontinue the bubble was due to increased positivity rates and cases “in many of our sister Caribbean countries”.

“The bubble was implemented to provide more seamless travel for countries, which were deemed to be low risk. However, over the two-week period prior to the bubble being discontinued, there were rising COVID levels and infection rates,” he explained. “Therefore, the Ministry of Health and the Cabinet subcommittee deliberated and decided the travel bubble would be discontinued until further notice.”

Dr George pointed out that with the travel bubble no longer in effect, all protocols would now apply. For vaccinated travellers, quarantine will be for 24 to 48 hours, while for unvaccinated travellers, quarantine will be for five days with a re-test on day six.

Additionally, the Chief Medical Officer stated that persons from countries of special interest would be required to quarantine for seven days with a re-test on day eight, “irrespective of their vaccination status”.

Suriname is the only Caribbean Community (Caricom) country on that list of countries of special interest.

The others are: Argentina, Angola, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Chile, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Georgia, Eswatini, Haiti, Hong Kong, India, Iran, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mozambique, Nepal, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Reunion, Republic of Congo, Singapore, South Africa, Tunisia, Uganda, Uruguay, Vietnam, Zambia and Zimbabwe.