CDC removes COVID-19 travel warning for St Lucia
Updated with Saint Lucia Tourism Authority (SLTA) release
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has removed it's COVID-19 travel warning for St Lucia.
The previous 'Level 3: Reconsider Travel' notice asked Americans to avoid non-essential travel to St Lucia due to serious risks to safety and security.
This warning, which was applied to the majority of countries in the world, baffled local officials due to St Lucia's relatively strong COVID-19 outcome to date.
As of today, the CDC has placed St Lucia at 'Watch – Level 1' saying "COVID-19 risk in Saint Lucia is low, new cases are decreasing or stable."
The key points section on St Lucia states:
- "CDC recommends that people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 talk to their healthcare providers before traveling to Saint Lucia.
- COVID-19 risk in Saint Lucia is low.
- Over the last 28 days, new cases of COVID-19 in Saint Lucia decreased or stabilized.
- Check with the Office of Foreign Affairs or Ministry of Health of Saint Lucia or the US Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Country Information page for details about entry requirements and restrictions for arriving travelers, such as mandatory testing or quarantine.
- Local policies at your destination may require you to be tested for COVID-19 before you are allowed to enter the country. If you test positive on arrival, you may be required to isolate for a period of time. You may even be prevented from returning to the United States, as scheduled. You might consider getting tested before your trip. If so, see Testing for COVID-19 webpage for more information."
St Lucia has recorded 26 cases of COVID-19, only one of which is active. No deaths have occurred on island.
The SLTA issued a release saying:
"Saint Lucia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in ensuring a safe and strategic approach to the reopening of the economy, is receiving rave reviews the world over. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has now reduced Saint Lucia’s COVID-19 rating to the lowest, Level 1, as one of only eight countries globally, noting that “over the last 28 days, new cases of COVID-19 in Saint Lucia decreased or stabilized.”
An August 21, highlight by AOL captioned, “How much it costs to live in 15 COVID-free countries” has rated Saint Lucia as the #2 country in the world that could provide you with a gorgeous and safe place to wait out the pandemic.
Saint Lucia welcomed its first commercial flight on July 9, with a measure of strictly enforced protocols in place which include pretesting within seven days of arrival in the destination, mandatory screening on arrival, use of certified taxis and hotels, a 14-day quarantine period for non-bubble countries, the wearing of masks in public and observing physical distancing.
"This is even more validation of our country's success in the management of COVID-19," said Prime Minister Honourable Allen Chastanet. "We have to keep following our protocols and ensuring that pre-testing is done before visitors arrive in Saint Lucia. This takes the support and cooperation of all the stakeholders in the travel industry."
The Saint Lucia Tourism Authority and the Ministry of Tourism has praised the endorsement as timely as it encourages visitors to enjoy an extended stay on a relatively affordable budget.
Chairman of the National COVID-19 Response Committee and Minister for Tourism, Honourable Dominic Fedee said, “It is an honour to see that the strategic approach to responsibly reopening the tourism sector, dedication and sacrifice of the Government, frontline workers and the cooperation of the public is topical in international jurisdictions. All measures by the government are geared are ensuring that livelihoods are restored while keeping local communities protected from the virus.”
The Government of Saint Lucia through the Caribcation brand is working assiduously to introduce its extended stay program where visitors would be able to work, stay and play, all while enjoying Saint Lucia’s culture. For the period of July to August 2020 to date, Saint Lucia has welcomed 5,897 travelers through the approved ports of entry, of which 4,413 are visitors.
In projecting the trajectory towards phase two estimated to commence in October, the government and Health Authorities continue to chart a deliberate course that would continue to safeguard the population. With careful measures in place, as of Monday July 17, more water-based activities have opened including diving and snorkeling.
The public is reminded to follow all travel and on island protocols as a continued measure in mitigating the risk of COVID-19 into local communities. Residents too are reminded to be vigilant and report any known infringements to the 311 hotline or the nearest police station.
To access Saint Lucia’s COVID-19 Management Protocol and for prefilling of the Mandatory Travel Registration Form, please visit; www.stlucia.org/covid-19."