Caribbean destinations are increasingly closing their borders to stem COVID-19’s spread, even as the illness appears on more islands. The smaller sister island of St. Kitts and Nevis is implementing its own measures to halt the COVID-19’s spread a day after St. Kitts, the larger island, reported the nation’s first two coronavirus cases.
One day after the dual-island nation closed its borders to commercial airline flights, ships and yachts through April 7, Nevis is implementing a visitor ban within its own island borders, said Jadine Yarde, the Nevis Tourism Authority’s CEO, in a statement.
Under the measures, Nevis nationals and residents currently overseas must remain offshore until the border closing is lifted. “It is a strong move,” said Yarde. “[Nevis] is serious about containing the spread of coronavirus.”
The border closure “does not come without serious consideration as tourism is hugely important to Nevis,” said Yarde. “However, our highest priority is the health and well-being of our people. We wish the best for all those interested in Nevis and we hope to see you when the time is right for us to accept visitors again.”
On Thursday Anguilla officials received notification from the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) that two individuals have tested positive for COVID-19, a 24-year-old woman from the U.S. who arrived March 11, and 47-year-old male resident who is a close contact of the first case. “There is also indication of local transmission,” officials said in a statement Friday.
Both individuals displayed “mild symptoms” and have been placed in isolation. Anguilla Ministry of Health and Health Authority officials have implemented “aggressive contact tracing to identify every individual who may have come into close contact with this patient.”
All identified individuals will be placed under quarantine and tested, said officials. “Furthermore, additional social distancing measures for the general public will be announced shortly,” the statement adds.
Anguilla’s Ministry of Health & Social Development earlier launched a platform designed to serve as a central space “for all official news and updates” related to COVID-19. The site includes updates from Anguilla’s ministry of health, ministry of tourism, the Air & Sea Ports Authority and the Anguilla Tourist Board (ATB).
While tourism-reliant Caribbean countries are closing their borders to visitors to battle COVID-19, officials continue to urge residents to practice social distancing and other anti-COVID sanitary practices as they prepare for tourism’s future return.
Yarde said Nevis is launching #We’reWithYou, a social media campaign “to convey that we are all in this together and that the island looks forward to again welcoming visitors in the near future.”
NTA officials are also challenging past Nevis visitors to share “their notable moments and memories on the island” using the hashtag #SeeYouSoonNevis.