(PRESS RELEASE) – To date, there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in St. Kitts & Nevis. However, in response to the COVID-19 global outbreak and the subsequent international spread of the disease, the destination has strengthened surveillance and pre-emptive healthcare procedures at its air and seaports as well as throughout the Federation.
The health system has moved to detect, contain and manage the situation in the event the virus reaches the Federation.
· At St. Kitts’ Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport, all incoming air passengers to the Federation must at all times complete question #17 of the Customs/Immigration Form, which requires a listing of “countries visited during last six weeks.”
· At the cruise port, inspectors from the Environmental Health Department board each vessel that docks to review the passenger travel manifest and all medical reports for any passengers exhibiting flu-like symptoms. Any passenger displaying such symptoms is not permitted to disembark.
· Any and all incoming passengers who have travelled to or from any of the following countries within the last 14 days will be asked to provide travel history, history of exposure to the virus and contact information: China, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Italy, Japan and Iran.
· Persons traveling to/from these destinations within the last 14 days are asked not to travel to St. Kitts & Nevis. Persons who do travel to St. Kitts & Nevis from these destinations will be subject to screening at the ports of entry and may be monitored by the public health team or quarantined at home or at a designated facility based on risk assessment.
· The Federation of St. Kitts & Nevis reserves the right to deny entry to any non-Nationals who have visited the countries listed above within the incubation period of 14 days. Nationals and/or residents who have visited those countries within the 14-day incubation period will be required to go through the established screening process.
St. Kitts & Nevis is complying with International Health Regulations and reporting to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) / the World Health Organization (WHO) as appropriate.
Following the WHO’s declaration on January 30th, 2020 that the outbreak of the Coronavirus constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis advises citizens and residents to restrict travel to the aforementioned destinations until the WHO gives the all clear in relation to the COVID-19.
The Ministry of Health is working closely with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and all appropriate government agencies to execute national disaster preparedness and response plans so as to prevent, monitor and manage the spread of the virus if and when a national or visitor tests positive for the virus . The Disaster Mitigation Council is in place to handle the response to the disease and the Ministry of Health has conducted training exercises with frontline workers including police and immigrations and customs officers.
A destination-wide awareness and education campaign is being implemented within schools, the workplace and communities to remind the public of everyday preventative actions such as including basic hygiene best practices to help stem the spread of the virus. These include frequent handwashing with soap and water or 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizers, frequent disinfection of surfaces and avoiding close contact with people who exhibit signs of respiratory illness.