Saint Lucia has been working diligently to ensure that proper measures are put in place to deal with the Ebola virus.
Most recently, the government announced a ban on Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – three of the countries worst affected by the Ebola outbreak.
Head of the Immigration Department, Assistant Superintendent Crusita Descartes Pelius said that in order to concretize this new arrangement, her department has been alerting airlines of St. Lucia’s ban.
Descartes-Pelius revealed that persons from Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria all require visas to visit Saint Lucia.
However, in the case of Guinea and Sierra Leone, persons from those countries obtain their visas upon arrival to St. Lucia, whereas individuals from Liberia and Nigeria require visas prior to arrival.
The immigration head said, “So while we can control persons coming from Nigeria and Sierra Leone before they board, it is different for persons coming from Guinea and Sierra Leone.”
As a result of this, the travel advisories will seek to ensure that people coming from Sierra Leone and Guinea would not board an aircraft to Saint Lucia, because they will still be prohibited from entering the island.
According to her, the authorities are ensuring that the airlines and travel agents are aware of the ban and ensure that travel from these countries are strictly prohibited.
Descartes-Pelius said her department is also in close dialogue with the Prime Minister’s Office to ensure that proper advisories are issued to the airlines.
Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony had said visitors from Nigeria would require a medical certificate when travelling to St. Lucia. The immigration official confirmed that this arrangement is being adhered to.
Airport staff have been trained to deal with any suspected cases of Ebola. Persons are urged to wear gloves when handling passports and use hand sanitizers.