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TCI: Health Minister to propose end to face coverings, younger vaccine takers at Cabinet

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#TurksandCaicos, May 18, 2021 – A proposal at the next Turks and Caicos Islands Cabinet meeting could dramatically alter health protocols for fully vaccinated individuals; it could also see the age for Covid-19 vaccines lowered to match the United States.

When cabinet meets on Wednesday it is the intention of Hon E. Jay Saunders, Minister of Health to present proposals for Turks and Caicos to end the need for face coverings for fully vaccinated individuals and to open vaccination to younger residents. 

Deputy Premier, E. Jay Saunders, in a one on one with Magnetic Media admits he personally finds ‘agreeable’ the new measures in the United States where face coverings are no longer required for some people and where younger people can take the vaccine.

Pfizer and BioNtech’s successful clinical trial of teenagers is concluded and its findings accepted.  The study enrolled 2,260 adolescents ages 12-15 and last week, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the shots for children from 12 to 15.

The vaccine in the TCI was already approved for residents as young as 16 years old.

While there are some who believe face coverings should be continued, as the pandemic is far from over.  There are more who express, fully vaccinated individuals need to experience some kind of ‘reward’ for their voluntary decision to respond favourably to Governments’ calls to take the new vaccine.

Already in Turks and Caicos there are perks for taking the vaccine.  Fully vaccinated residents are permitted to travel into the country on their (Turks and Caicos only) vaccination cards and businesses with all staff vaccinated are allowed double the capacity within their establishments.  Taxi Drivers who are vaccinated are also allowed to carry more passengers.

The US Centers for Disease Control still advises vaccinated people should wear masks on planes and trains, and at airports, transit hubs, mass transit and places like hospitals and doctor’s offices; perhaps TCI will take a similar stance.

Health

Woman dies on Tuesday; 32nd Covid Death for Turks & Caicos

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#TurksandCaicos, January 20, 2022 – The Turks and Caicos has recorded its 32nd death related to COVID-19.

A Ministry of Health press release informed that the individual who was in quarantine in Grand Turk and requested emergency aid on Tuesday; response came from the public health team in Grand Turk.

The person, who we are told is a special needs young woman – was unvaccinated and had underlying medical conditions.

The death rate in the Turks and Caicos of both vaccinated and unvaccinated persons has climbed alarmingly this year.  In the 21-month period from March 2020 when the country recorded its first case to December 2021, there were 26 deaths recorded in the TCI.

In the 19 days since the start of 2022 that number has increased to 32; which means six deaths already in January.

 

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Bahamas News

Cruising should slow down says PAHO

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

‘Slow down on Cruising’, that’s the word from the Pan American Health Organization, PAHO in their latest recent press conference.

Dr. Ciro Ugarte Director of Health Emergencies at the PAHO was referring to the Bahamas but made sure to note that the advice was highly relevant to many countries in the times of omicron.

“In the context of intense transmission, due to the Omicron variant as we have highlighted several times. It is just logical to suspend or at least limit the cruise ship traffic as an outbreak on board might end up exceedingly high and probably will go beyond the capacity of local health services”

Both the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos are experiencing a massive uptick in cases and several warnings regarding cruise travel have been issued by the US Centers for Disease Control.

Cruising just resumed for many regional countries this past Summer, Turks and Caicos was among the latest to restart on December 13.

A stop to sailing would be devastating to economies, however, ports of call like Grand Turk which are reeling with rocketing case numbers of COVID are urged to consider the suggestion of slowing down on ships by PAHO.

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Health

New Healthy Sail rules to ensure transparency and safety kick in, but not all Cruise Lines are on board

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

January 20, 2022 – The US Centers for Disease Control Cruise Sailing Order expired on Saturday January 15th and it means cruise lines will now be able to choose whether or not they want to participate. This “Healthy Sail” program is a set of guidelines for cruising which the CDC says will provide transparency about COVID management on ships.

Cruise lines which chose to participate in the “healthy sail” voluntary program will be subject to CDC guidelines. Cruise lines which opt out of the program will still have to adhere to masking mandates and report all COVID cases.

However, the ships opting out of the CDC Healthy Sail program, will not be required to make public their testing regimes for crew and passengers.

“There will be a lot of unknowns about what risk mitigation measures are being used on board because they will really be able to set their own protocols for testing of passengers and crew,” said Aimee Treffiletti, CDC representative to USA Today.

Naturally, this raises several questions about whether these ships will be required to make onboard protocols and findings public to ports of call.

Up to Monday, Norwegian, Oceania and Regent Seven Seas Cruise Lines had opted into the program. Noticeably absent from the roll call: Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean.

 

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