Visitors to US still need COVID Vaccine; measure EXTENDED
By Dana Malcolm
#USA, February 7, 2023 – As most countries in the world move on, the United States is holding fast to its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for entry but some say the vax mandate is not evenly applied at all the borders and is out of date to boot.
The vaccine mandate for entry was instituted in November 2021 as the globe faced what would be its largest and deadliest COVID-19 wave, fueled by the uber-transmissible Omicron. At that time the United States already had some of the highest case numbers and death tolls in the world and had only been requiring negative tests for entry.
The new vaccine mandate required all non-citizens to be fully vaccinated and show proof of that vaccination to enter the country by air. A similar rule for land and ferry passengers came into effect on January 22, 2022. Fully vaccinated then meant that an individual had two primary doses of the COVID-19 vaccine which was at the time targeted at strains which are no longer significantly circulating and immunity from which has been proven to wane without a booster within a period of months.
That definition of ‘Fully vaccinated’ remains in effect, this is despite the FDA now planning to vote on whether all vaccines should target the same variants, (the ones which are currently circulating most) and as the efficacy of the initial vaccines against the latest sub-variants have proven to be considerably low.
In addition to the definition of fully vaccinated which by the FDA and CDC’s admittance no longer provides significant protection against COVID-19 without a booster, some travellers say the rule is not enforced as sternly at land borders as it is by air.
That order was supposed to end on January 8th
Three Days to NIB Rate Increase for 2023
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, March 29, 2023 – On April 1st, the second round of increases on contributions at the National Insurance Board will kick in for the Turks and Caicos workforce. Announced last year, the increases were instituted to keep the NIB from running out of money by 2027 as it services a population that is living longer with contributions that had not been increased in 30 years.
As the Government’s new financial year begins, increases at NIB will mean a higher cost for doing business and a higher cost for running the Government.
The private sector is expected to pay contributions at a rate of 11 percent on your taxable income. The hike is up from last year’s 10 per cent; six percent of which is to be paid by the Employer and five percent is to be paid by the Employee. For wages of $2000, this will mean a $200 improvement in income per month to the NIB. As for the burn on residents’ pockets, based on a minimum wage of $1200 monthly salary, that’s at least $60 dollars a month and $720 per year.
Public sector rates will move to 10.15 percent up from 9.15 per cent with the worker paying 4.575 per cent and the Government paying 5.575 per cent; that’s $54 a month and $648 a year at minimum wage.
The NIB rate as of April 1, 2023, will jump to 9 percent for self-employed individuals; For self-employed individuals at minimum wage, that is $108 dollars a month or $1296 per year.
As taxable incomes increase so will the contribution.
The increases follow a 2019 Actuarial review, undertaken every three years, which unearthed that the NIB was facing a dismal future, possible collapse. Contribution rates were growing at a rate much slower than NIB expenses, which included beneficiary payouts. On that trajectory, the NIB’s earnings would be eclipsed by its income by 2027, forcing the worker protection plan to draw down on money saved for economic shocks like Covid-19.
Unsurprisingly, this was deemed untenable, and an immediate increase was recommended.
Despite this scramble to boost earnings, the NIB has simultaneously increased payouts. Payouts for pensions, funeral grants, maternity grants and more will all attract bigger sums.
These incremental increases on contributions and payouts were all consultant recommendations, informed statements from the Board.
Work of NAECOB critical in ensuring high standards in education, says Minister Hanna-Martin
Bahamas Golden Jubilee Events Announced, Celebrations Across 33 Islands & Cays
#TheBahamas, March 27, 2023 – As the 50th anniversary of our nation’s independence approaches, Bahamians everywhere are teeming with excitement and expectancy around the year-long celebrations set by The National Independence Secretariat.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister joined H.E Leslia Miller Brice, Chair of The National Independence Secretariat to unveil the Calendar of Events for the 50th Independence celebrations.
The calendar comprises a host of events, initiatives and recommendations for celebrations throughout all 33 islands of The Bahamas.
At this jubilant occasion the PM stated, “Celebrating independence is about acknowledging the greatness around us, the greatness within us, and the greatness ahead of us.
We are Bahamians. That identity is special.”
View the newly released calendar of events here:
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