Airport Testing For Travellers Imperative: OECS

Responding to remarks by the CEO of London Heathrow, John Holland-Kaye warning of a catastrophe for UK aviation if air travel is not resumed, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Heads of Government voiced their concern about the prediction.

However, the OECS leaders indicated that they were ‘heartened’ by Holland-Kaye’s recommendation and solution focusing on the consideration of testing at UK airports in order to ensure that all travellers are COVID-19 free and to allow such travellers freedom to travel.

The OECS said the call strengthens its efforts internationally in seeking the establishment of PCR testing facilities at airports to ensure that every traveler is tested, and only persons who are deemed to be COVID-free will be allowed to board and travel.

In a statement, the OECS says: “We have been lobbying the governments of our major tourism source markets as well as the major airlines with flights to the Caribbean to work with us in the establishment of a rigorous testing regime to facilitate the reopening of safe air travel to the Caribbean.”

And it notes that discussions with an international company should be concluded this week and it expects that this will result in the establishment of PCR testing facilities at all source airports as well as cruise and ferry ports to the Caribbean. This will ensure that only travellers who are COVID-free are allowed to board and will remove the need for quarantine on arrival.

The OECS says: “We are seeking to move quickly to facilitate safer travel for the tourism high season in October. The Anglophone Caribbean has had a strong record of effective management of the pandemic to date with among the lowest infection rates in the world and are seeking to address the severe economic contraction in our tourism-dependent economies while ensuring the protection of our people as well as our visitors.”

And OECS leaders indicate that they “are issuing an urgent call to the governments and other stakeholders of the tourism source markets to work with us in putting this solution in place and to demonstrate the viability of this approach to the safe restoration of the travel and tourism industry.”

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