BASSETERRE, St.Kitts (Thursday 7th October 2021)- Hotels in St.Kitts-Nevis  offering rapid COVID-19 test services to guests as well as 24-hour and 48-hour quarantine and testing periods are among the recommendations agreed upon following recent discussions between hoteliers and the local officials.

“We will await the decision of the federal cabinet to advise the next regulations hopefully,” stated the task force chairman Abdias Samuel, who is of the view that testing at hotels would help current challenges and ease the burden on public health officers.

In speaking at the National Emergency Operations Center (NEOC) COVID-19 Daily Briefing on Wednesday 6th October 2021, he gave details stemming from the meeting which he said was one of the engagements for the past week to “discuss a number of matters that are affecting their service and their business.”

“One of the areas that would have been highlighted is the reduction in the quarantine period and I must inform you that several recommendations are before the members of the cabinet at this time for us to have the quarantine period reduced. There are recommendations of 48 hours and tests and 24 hours and testing. We will await the decision of the federal cabinet to advise the next regulations hopefully,” he explained.

According to Samuel: “The Ministry of Health also would have agreed-represented by the Acting CMO [Chief Medical Officer] Dr. [Cameron] Wilkinson and others and the HEOC…we were notified at the task force level that indeed, we would also assist the hoteliers by allowing the hoteliers to be able to contract  the services of the labs and having certified doctors and nurses conduct the swabbing of their guests we project would help us with the current challenges as well as easing the burden on our public health  officers who are working extremely hard.”

Samuel outlined that in discussions with the hoteliers, the departure tests was also discussed.

“So as it is right now for you to depart the Federation depending on the destination you are going to, most destinations are requiring tests. Various destinations have varying requirements. For example, some destinations would accept the rapid test, antigen test, PCR test etc. so we have now been in discussions with the hoteliers.”

He said Dr. Wilkinson would have begun his discussions with the various labs “because eventually, in order to have an easement and also to enhance the experience of our guests and our tourism product, we are of the view that persons who will be departing the Federation should be able to undergo a rapid test or antigen test based on the destination and the acceptance of the destination going forward.”

Samuel continued: “So I think that is some welcoming news for the hoteliers so rather than having to do a PCR test to depart the Federation of St.Kitts and Nevis, you should be able now to do a rapid test, antigen test etc. So these are some of the recommendations that we accepted and have agreed upon; that’s the National COVID-19 Task Force in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and also supported by the Cabinet members.”

He echoed a statement by Dr. Wilkinson in hoping to have the WHO-approved test administered in St.Kitts-Nevis.