(PRESS RELEASE) – The Turks and Caicos Islands Ministry of Tourism and Tourist Board continue to work along with the Ministry of Health as we prepare for the possibility of coronavirus (COVID-19) reaching the Turks and Caicos Islands.
As of 10th March 2020, the Ministry of Health report zero suspected and zero confirm cases in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
The Turks and Caicos Islands Ministry of Tourism and Tourist Board is working closely with its partners from the Ministry of Health, the lead agency for the prevention of this virus. On behalf of all our partners we hereby advise visitors and travel industry partners of the recent changes in regulations which may affect travel to the destination. The safety of our visitors is of utmost importance and we advise all visitors to take note of the Turks and Caicos Islands Public and Environmental Health (Control Measures) (COVID-19) Regulations 2020 which came into effect on March 10, 2020:
The general and travelling public is hereby being asked to take note of the following provisions of the Turks and Caicos Islands Public and Environmental Health (Control Measures) (COVID-19) Regulations 2020 which came into effect on March 10, 2020:
1. Refusal of entry of direct flight to the Islands originating from infected country
No flight originating from an infected country shall be permitted to land in the Islands.
Infected country means China, Iran, South Korea, Italy, Singapore, Macau, Japan and any other country which the Governor declares from time to time, by notice published in the Gazette, as a country where there is known or thought to be sustained human-to-human transmission of Covid-19, or from which the CDC reports there is a high risk of importation of infection or contamination (with Covid-19) via travel from that country to the Islands;
2. Refusal of entry of cruise ship carrying passenger from infected country
No cruise ship shall be permitted to enter the Islands, where that cruise ship is carrying a passenger who has travelled to, from or through an infected country within a period of twenty-one days or less immediately preceding the intended arrival in the Islands.
3. Refusal of entry to the Islands by visitors after visit to an infected country
No visitor shall be permitted to enter the Islands, whether by ship or aircraft, where that person has travelled to, from or through an infected country within a period of twenty-one days or less immediately preceding the visitor’s arrival in the Islands.
4. Persons in the Islands who have travelled to, from or through infected country may be quarantined
(I) A Turks and Caicos Islander or resident of the Islands who arrives in the Islands after travel to, from or through an infected country shall be—
(a) subjected to screening and passenger tracing at port of entry;
(b) subjected to clinical examination at port of entry; and
(c) quarantined for a period of fourteen days, as deemed necessary.
(II) A person referred to in sub regulation (1) who is deemed at high risk of having the virus by a health officer, based on travel or contact information but is asymptomatic, shall, for the purposed of surveillance by the Chief Medical officer, be placed under quarantine in a specified place for up to fourteen days and monitored for symptoms and signs of viral illness daily by a health officer.
(III) An immigration officer shall alert the health authorities of any Turks and Caicos Islander or resident of the Islands arriving in the Islands –
(a) who has travelled to, from or through an infected country within the within the last twenty-one days;
(b) with symptoms suggestive of the virus; or
(c) if he suspects that a person has been exposed to the virus.
(IV) A person suspected of having been exposed to or having symptoms of the virus shall be removed to an isolation room for assessment and evaluation by health officials.
(V) A person who is symptomatic or a person who becomes symptomatic under home-based quarantine shall be placed under quarantine in a designated facility with precaution taken to protect uninfected persons from exposure to the virus.
(VI) Where –
(a) any person in the Islands who, at the date of the commencement of these Regulations had travelled to, from or through an infected country within a period of twenty one days or less immediately preceding the person’s arrival in the Islands; and
(b) that person shows respiratory symptoms or symptoms of the virus, the person
(c) shall be managed under the direction of the Chief Medical Officer and shall be quarantined at a quarantine facility specified by the Chief Medical Officer for a period of up to fourteen days, or until the Chief Medical Officer determines that the person is fully recovered, whichever is later.
5. Health practitioners, health officers and other persons may be quarantined
A health practitioner, health officer or any other person who may have had direct contact with a person suspected of having the virus or with bodily fluids of such a person shall, on assessment, be subject to quarantine for fourteen days, or until the Chief Medical Officer determines that the person is fully recovered, whichever is later.
6. Court’s power to order quarantine
If on the application of a health officer the court is satisfied that a person who is placed under quarantine has failed to comply with such direction, the court may order him to be placed under quarantine for a period specified in the order and a health officer and any police officer may do all things necessary for giving effect to the order.
7. Duty to provide information
The Chief Medical Officer may, request any person to provide to the Chief Medical Officer with such information the Chief Medical Officer considers necessary to assess what precautions should be taken to prevent the spread of the virus in the Islands.
A person who does not provide any information as required by sub regulation 9, or who leaves a specified place or a designated facility when he is placed under quarantine there, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine or to a term of imprisonment.