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Health

Cabinet approves NEW Quarantine and Travel Entry Requirements, announced by Health Minister Robinson

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By Shanieka Smith

Staff Writer

 

 #TurksandCaicos, December 31, 2021 – At the joint presser with the Premier and the Minister of Health this morning, Hon. Jamell Robinson announced the island’s updated entry requirements and regulations, which the Cabinet approved in a virtual meeting on Wednesday.

The Cabinet has approved the lowering of mandatory testing to two-years-old and above for visitors arriving and unvaccinated residents returning to the TCI. This will be effective on January 14, 2020.

It has also approved the extension of the existing COVID-19 measures and protocols, which will come into effect from 5 am on January 7 to February 28, 2022.

First, a permit is required for gatherings and social activities (including public beaches) of more than 50 people and up to a maximum of 500 persons. Hon. Robinson said though the maximum is 500, the ministry has the prerogative to decide any number between 50 or 500 that it will allow, given the current global circumstance.

The second measure that will be extended is the bi-weekly (every two weeks) testing of frontline staff, including the teachers. Only those who have received booster shots or have been fully vaccinated within the last three months with be exempted.

Also, Cabinet has approved amendments to the Public and Environmental Health (COVID-19 pandemic) Regulations – Power to Quarantine. These will be in effect from January 14, 2022.

The quarantine period for vaccinated persons has been reduced to seven days if the individual is asymptomatic after day five of isolation and provides two antigen tests taken 24 hours apart on days six and seven of isolation.

Close contacts and their household will still be required to quarantine for ten days after their last exposure to COVID-19. There may be a consideration for early release if individuals are asymptomatic after day five of isolation and provide a negative LFD test on day seven.

Lastly, unvaccinated people, their contacts, and households will still be required to quarantine for 14 days after the last exposure to COVID-19 if they are not medically evacuated by air ambulance.

 

 

 

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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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