Prime Minister Dr Timothy Harris told a news conference that the opening of the borders of the twin island Federation will not only facilitate the return of tourists, but will also “allow our own nationals and residents abroad the opportunity to return home to their families, their jobs and their communities in a more regular and predictable way”.
St Kitts-Nevis, like many Caribbean countries had closed its borders as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and Harris described the decision to reopen the borders as a significant development for the Federation.
He said his coalition government was keen to learn from the experiences of others, taking the advice of the World Health Organization (WHO), the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and local health experts.
“We can with the support of all take this major step to open our economy and we can now do so while minimising risks to our Country,” Harris said.
He said that in preparation for the reopening of the borders, the government will continue to insist that citizens and residents comply with all health protocols, particularly the wearing of masks in public, the frequent washing of hands, as well as practising physical and social distancing.
“These practices have to become second nature to us as we work to protect ourselves, our families, our friends and loved ones.
“Given that all our cases of COVID-19 were travel related or imported cases, strict compliance with the health protocols is the only way to contain the spread of the virus, minimising any strain on our small health system and loss of employment and productivity due to quarantine, isolation or hospitalisation,”. Harris added.
St Kitts-Nevis has recorded 19 cases of the virus that was first detected in China last December and blamed for more than one million deaths and 34 million infections worldwide.