Photo: A February 2019 social media posting of a room at the Ocean Terrace Inn (source: www.facebook.com/oceanterraceinn)

BASSETERRE, St.Kitts (Friday 26th June 2020)-Nationals of St.Kitts and Nevis who wish to return home while the borders remain close amidst the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) measures are required to pay US$500 for a 14-day quarantine accommodation at closed-down hotel resort the Ocean Terrace Inn (OTI) located at Fortlands plus US$100 for a molecular test on day 14.

At the National Emergency Operations Center (NEOC) COVID-19 Daily Briefing held on Wednesday 24th June 2020, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Hazel Laws spoke about a process that must be followed by nationals who are requesting permission to be repatriated to the Federation.

That accommodation price does not include food and essentials like laundry as those would be the responsibility of the individuals quarantined.

March 30th 2020 saw the permanent closure of the OTI. According to management, such resulted from continuing losses at the hotel worsened by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic which has decimated the local and international hospitality and travel sectors.

“If you are overseas and you wish to return home, you must send an email or a letter of application to the Chief Executive Officer of SCASPA [St. Christopher Air and Sea Ports Authority] requesting same, and you provide details of your charter because I must say that our ports remain closed and then once permission bus granted, you will be provided this information,” Dr. Laws stated.

In sharing the terms and conditions of quarantine, she explained: “So once you would have returned to the Federation you would automatically go into quarantine at a government designated quarantine site and for now that site is located in the Fortlands area and there is a cost attached to this accommodation.”

The CMO added: “You will be in quarantine for 14 days and the cost for that duration is $500 for 14 days sand this cost is to be borne by the incoming traveller. At the end of your quarantine period, that’s day number 14, you will be sampled and your sample will be sent to our local Next Generation lab for processing.”

“Again, there is cost to that; the cost is US$100. Now part of that fee goes to Next Gen Lab for processing the sample. However, the rest covers the cost for the personal protective gear that must be worn by the health professional to take the sample and then the sampling requires the use of a swab and a viral transport media and so that fee covers the entire cost of sampling.”

As it relates to meals and essentials, Dr. Laws had this to say: “Now the incoming air traveller is also responsible for providing your own meals and essentials including laundry. And please note your local relatives are welcome and are encouraged to assist you with your meals and your laundry.”

Pertaining to communication during quarantine, she told that the public health team would do the monitoring.

“Now the public health team will monitor you during this 14-day period to ensure that you are not experiencing any of the COVID like symptoms and you are provided a WhatsApp number to call or to send a message to upon noticing any of the COVID related symptoms. You will be discharged from quarantine on day number 14 if your COVID-19 molecular test is negative. If, however, your COVID-19 molecular test returns as positive, you will then be placed into isolation and you will receive the relevant medical care that you will require with such a diagnosis.”