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TCI: Work Permit & Permanent Residency now mandatory for Covid Vaccine says TCIG

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#TurksandCaicos, July 20, 2021 – Turks and Caicos Islands Government is doubling down on its mission to ensure all guest workers in the country are fully vaccinated for Covid-19, and expanding the scope on who will be subject to the same rule. 

Not only are Work Permit Holders and those on Government Stamps, employed by TCIG under a mandatory order to be vaccinated for employment in the Turks and Caicos, this rule is now extended individuals applying for PRCs or Permanent Residency Certificates. 

A media statement and an official internal memo from the Deputy Governor Anya Williams have been issued to inform of the change, which officially extends the deadline to August 31st

Just 42 days away; no work permit will be renewed, no PRC will be granted unless there is proof of full vaccination. 

It is also important to note, that now with a more firm understanding of how many are on work permits and when those permits expire, if someone whose work permit expires after the vaccine deadline day has not had the vaccine by the deadline day of August 31st, their work permit will be immediately flagged for non-renewal. 

As for who will police this tedious process, it’s the employer. 

From the statement, “The onus is on each employer to notify Employment Services Department and provide evidence of vaccinated staff. Employers should notify their work permit holder / Government Stamp holder staff of the vaccination requirement for employment as defined by this policy.” 

Over 3,500 people can become vaccinated using the fourth batch of Covid-19 vaccine which landed in Providenciales on July 7. 

The TCIG report: Policy to Promote Vaccination Among Migrant Population in the Turks and Caicos Islands informs that as of 25th May 2021, 8,081 individuals within the Islands are work permit holders with an additional 469 individuals who are dependents of the work permit holders. 

It also said, approximately eighty-five percent (84.6%) of these work permits will be expired within a year and a further 15.3% will expire within two years.  The majority of the work-permit holders are of Haitian nationality (49%), followed by nationals from the Dominican Republic (12%), Philippines (10%), and Jamaica (10%). British, Canadian, and Americans account for two percent (2%) of work permit holders within the country. 

These figures however, do not reflect the number of illegal migrants that are also residing in the Turks and Caicos Islands that may not be vaccinated.

While the policy speaks specifically to renewal of work permits, the policy also serves to encourage persons with Permanent Residence Certificates, Residence Permit Holders, Spousal Residency Permit holders, Government Stamp Holders and illegal migrants, residing in the TCI to be vaccinated if they want to be considered in the future for any permit applications. 

The information comes, verbatim from the report which is striving to get higher uptake of the Covid-19 vaccine among non-citizens.

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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