BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - DESPITE pressure from political organizations and others within civil society, the National COVID-19 Task Force is maintaining the existing Health and Travel Protocols for entry into the Federation at this time.
That decision was also agreed upon by the Federal Cabinet earlier this month, citing the Task Force’s push to reduce the levels of import of positive cases into St. Kitts and Nevis.
St. Kitts and Nevis is one of a few territories that have, over the last two years, kept strict measures in place for people entering the country to protect against positive cases turning up.
Currently, anyone entering the territory must show proof of a negative antigen or PCR Test, fill out an online form and wait for approval from the Government,
“The Federal Cabinet has met and approved the recommendation of the National COVID-19 Task Force that there be no change to the existing Health and Travel Protocols that are required by all travelers entering St. Kitts and Nevis,” a statement from the Federal Cabinet indicated.
The National COVID-19 Task Force met on July 19, 2022, at the NEMA Headquarters in Lime Kiln, Basseterre, where a number of matters were discussed.
Following that meeting, the Task Force submitted a report to the Federal Cabinet in which it made several recommendations and sought Cabinet’s approval.
As no change has been made to the existing Protocols, this will not go down well with several political parties, all of which have expressed disgust at the approval mechanism for entry into the Federation, especially at this time.
There have been complaints of long waiting times for approval, and in some cases persons missed or canceled their flights to the Federation because they did not have the necessary approval letters.
Leader of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party, Dr. Terrance Drew is one of the persons who voiced displeasure with the continued embrace of the application process.
“It was the considered position of the Task Force that St. Kitts and Nevis had recently gone through the experience of the Music Festival, when, from data provided covering the period June 19 – 25, 2022, some 3,006 visitors came into the country and they were processed using the existing protocols.
“The Task Force noted that there were no adverse reports in the handling of any large inflow of passengers into the Federation during the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup held in January and that the system had also recently been tested by the Music Festival,” the media statement added.
To combat the challenges, the Government has accepted recommendations to allow for more human resources to work the Help Desk.
That has been one of the areas of major concern for the process, as many have indicated that calls are made to the numbers and no response or they receive that the number is unavailable, especially on weekends.
“The Cabinet has therefore approved the recommendations of the COVID-19 Task Force and supports the position that the current entry protocols for the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis remain in place until further notice, in spite of the fact that there might soon be an influx of returning nationals following the announcement that the General Elections is scheduled for Friday. August 5, 2022.
“The Cabinet also agrees with the view of the Task Force that additional technical and human resources be put in place regarding the Help Desk to assist with any increased traffic created by returning nationals for the General Elections which would ensure that this would be handled efficiently by the various State agencies represented on the Fusion Centre for the knatravelform.kn platform,” the Cabinet statement read.