BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, (CMC) — The Government of Barbados has announced that, effective this Wednesday, May 25, vaccinated travellers to the island will no longer be required to present a negative COVID-19 test results for entry.
During a press conference on Saturday, Prime Minister Mia Mottley said that the Government felt comfortable in recognising the downward trajectory in cases of COVID-19.
“I have therefore been advised by the Ministry of Health that all persons who are vaccinated and are coming into Barbados will no longer need to come in with any kind of test results. So, we are removing testing for vaccinated passengers coming into Barbados. Unvaccinated passengers will still have to test,” said Mottley.
The prime minister added that mask-wearing will be optional in outdoor settings.
“Outdoor mask-wearing will become optional but indoors and on public transport, masks will still be required. If you’re drinking, if you’re talking, obviously you know you remove your masks indoors to be able to facilitate those things.”
Concerning mask-wearing in schools, the prime minister said this remains unchanged.
Mottley, however, stressed that if any new variant of the disease presented itself, measures to help combat the infection rate would be reintroduced.
“If another variant presents itself that causes us concern, believe you me you don’t have to ask what the Government will do, because we will press brakes again, but at this point in time everything is moving in the right direction and allows us therefore to be cautiously optimistic and to make the necessary changes we need to make,” said Mottley.
The announcement from Mottley came days after Belize health authorities confirmed that the country is facing a new a new wave of coronavirus infections with more than 600 active cases being reported.
The Ministry of Health and Wellness said that the Omicron BA2 sub-variant is the most dominant strain in Belize and that it is now increasing its surveillance measures in business and other public places in order to identify and isolate positive cases early, particularly in the Belize and Cayo districts where the infection rates are the highest.
“We do have areas in country where we are seeing more positive cases. Like other waves it is very similar. The district of Belize has the highest number of positive cases as well as the highest in regards to positivity rate a well, followed behind by Cayo. And then in the other districts, we are not seeing the positivity rates we saw in the other waves,” said Dr Melissa Diaz-Musa, director of public health and wellness.
Dr Diaz-Musa said that consideration is being given to reinstate certain COVID-19 measures that were relaxed as the country gears up for the National Agriculture and Trade Show Grounds in seven days, which is expected to draw a large crowd.