BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - THE COVID-19 Task Force is not yet in a position to recommend that the Government should move the test requirement from 72 to 24 hours despite the lifting of most restrictions for inbound travellers.
Concerns were raised over the possible spread of the highly contagious Omicron Variant of the Coronavirus in the Federation now that the 72 hours remain in place.
In response to SKNVibes’ question relating to a reduction in hours, Medical Chief-of-Staff Dr. Cameron Wilkinson said that though it is safer, it is not practicable.
Europe, the United States and Canada are all seeing a spike in COVID-19 being attributed to the Omicron Variant, and those cases are being diagnosed through mass testing.
The Medical Chief-of-Staff noted that the 24-hour testing is not practical at this time, highlighting that it reverts to the similar case of borders closure.
“..we have to think about the practicality of it also! The widespread testing that is being done globally, most persons who are coming here will tell you that they already have a difficult time to get a test within 72 hours before arrival. And so requesting a 24-hour PCR test is synonymous to closing our borders,” he added.
The turnaround time for the PCR Test might not be practical for persons to catch flights, Wilkinson suggested.
“So, we will continue with the negative PCR Test that is required within 72 hours of arrival,” he added.
The Omicron Variant has been found in several islands around the region, including Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. That strain is said to be more contagious but not likely to cause severe illness that could result in death.