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TCI Cabinet Meeting with new Covid-19 Testing & Vaccine rules and benefits

(CORRECTED VERSION) – His Excellency the Governor, Nigel Dakin, chaired the 5th meeting of Cabinet on Wednesday 24 March 2021 at the Office of the Premier on Grand Turk.

All members were present.

At this meeting Cabinet:

·        Was given an update by the Ministry of Health on:

a)     The measures being taken to address and mitigate against the threat of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) to the country, including the need to test for multiple variants, and

b)     The instillation of Oxygen Generators at the Cheshire Hall Medical Centre and the Cockburn Town Medical Centre.

·        Approved amendments to the Public and Environmental Health (Testing of COVID-19) Regulations to include:

a)     The use of Lateral Flow Devices for local surveillance of high risk TCIG departments;

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b)     Robust reporting requirements; and

c)     Confirmatory testing and testing requirements.

·        Approved the rollout of an expanded Vaccination Campaign, including among other measures, the use of more marketing mediums, drive through vaccine sites, and community outreach/events.

·        Approved a policy for a programme of mandatory Covid-19 testing of unvaccinated staff in the public sector for key high risk departments.

·        Approved an amendment to Public and Environmental Health (Arriving Passengers) Regulations to allow for upon arrival PCR testing at the airport for TCI residents who have been fully vaccinated (2 doses) in the TCI; doing away with the requirement for such persons to obtain a negative PCR test within five days prior to their arrival in the Islands with effect from 1 May 2021.

·        Approved an amendment to the Public and Environmental Health (Pandemic) Regulations to reduce the prescribed quarantine period from 14 days to 7 days for fully vaccinated persons (2 doses) who come into contact with someone with the COVID-19 disease.

·        Approved an MOU with the Turks and Caicos Islands Medical Association (TCIMA) to assist the Ministry of Health with COVID-19 local surveillance through a programme of community testing using Lateral Flow Devices.

·        Approved the overturning of a decision by the Collector of Stamp Duty by granting a waiver to a named individual on appeal in the context of a closed stimulus programme.

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·        Approved an update to the Provisional Warrant approved by the House of Assembly in December 2020 for a withdrawal from the Consolidated Fund in respect of the Recurrent Expenditure of the Islands for part of the fiscal year 2021/22. The revised Provisional Warrant will be re-submitted to the House of Assembly.

·        Approved the Invest Turks and Caicos Agency (Amendment) Bill 2021 to improve good governance within the Invest Turks and Caicos Agency Ordinance regarding legal, financial, regulatory, and compliance matters. The Bill will be submitted to the House of Assembly for debate.

·        Approved an amendment to the supporting documents to be submitted by applicants over the age of 75 years to enable them to benefit from income assistance/relief under the Citizen Relief – Covid-19 Stimulus Program. 

·        Approved the appointment of Joe Conolly as Chairman and Carla P. Blake-Thomas as Deputy Chair of the TCI National Health Insurance Board for a period of two (2) years with effect from 1 April 2021.

·        Were updated on ongoing work by Labour and Employment Services and the Department of Immigration, in particular issuance of work permits, prosecution and departure from the TCI of persons found residing in the country illegally.

·        Were updated on progress with addressing processes, structures and staffing of the Gaming Control Commission and approved the removal of the members of the Board.

·        Approved the waiver of stamp duty for the purchase of Project House by the Financial Services Commission.

·        Confirmed the round robin approval of the Supplementary Appropriation (2020/2021) Bill 2021 and noted its recent approval by the House of Assembly.

·        Were updated on ongoing works by the Ministries of Education, Infrastructure, Tourism and Health. Members were also updated on end of year (financial) work by the Civil Service and staffing across various departments.

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