A pleasant good morning to my fellow Turks and Caicos Islanders, residents and visitors.
Over the past three years, the Turks and Caicos Islands, like other countries in the world faced unprecedented challenges as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. During the earlier to mid stages of the pandemic, and as we approach what is being considered the tail end of the pandemic, the Turks and Caicos Islands faced the onslaught of individuals being infected with the disease, and the harsh reality of thirty-eight (38) Covid-19 related deaths.
The Turks and Caicos Islands not being unique to the effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic had to make difficult decisions to ensure the health and safety of the population, and at times visitors as well.
As a country, we saw the introduction of various public health measures such as, social distancing, the wearing of masks, restrictions on social gatherings, border closure, and curfews just to list a few.
The Turks and Caicos Islands, I believe did exceptionally well. Although a small nation, the country received enormous in-country support from the UK Government, assistance from CARPHA and PAHO, and we saw the onboarding of the Cuban Brigade to ensure that adequate healthcare staffing was provided to the hospital and the nation at large.
At a time when the world felt that Covid-19 pandemic would dominate the very existence of the human race, the world saw the introduction of the Covid-19 vaccines. Fortunately for the Turks and Caicos Islands, through the assistance of H.E the Governor and the UK Government, the TCI was one of the first islands in the Caribbean region to receive the vaccine. With the introduction of the vaccine, this meant additional changes to existing regulations such as the arriving passengers’ regulations.
Decisions were then taken to enhance the regulations by stating ALL visitors entering the Turks and Caicos Islands must be fully vaccinated with one of the approved vaccines published by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Whilst the World Health Organization has not declassified Covid-19 from a pandemic status, like many other countries, the Turks and Caicos Islands is not being severely impacted by the disease.
Currently there are three (3) active cases in the country. However, this is no indication that as a country and a people, we should become relaxed. Covid-19 remains to be a threat albeit low, and we must still exercise caution. If you are not vaccinated with the vaccine, please know the facts for yourself and become vaccinated – protect you and your loved one. If you are vaccinated, increase your protection levels by taking the booster.
As a government, the Ministry of Health continues to monitor the impact of Covid-19 locally and globally. Taking into consideration where we are as a nation as it relates to the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Cabinet at its meeting on 22nd March 2023, made the following decision in relation to the Arriving Passengers Regulations:
- Effective 1st April 2023 All visitors travelling to the Turks and Caicos Islands will NOT be required to show proof of the Covid-19 Vaccine.
As Minister responsible for Health, I continue to urge residents and visitors to practice safe hygiene habits, build your immune systems, take the Covid-19 Vaccine or booster to protect yourself or your loved ones. The life you save could be your very own.
May God continue to bless our beautiful by nature Turks and Caicos Islands. I take this opportunity to wish you all a blessed and Happy Easter.
Good day Turks and Caicos!!!