St. Maarten has added the British Virgin Islands to its list of high-risk countries and has accordingly implemented changes to the travel requirements effective yesterday, July 18.
A statement from the Government of St. Maarten issued on Sunday said the move comes on the heels of the spike in cases being seen in the territory and other countries.
It said: “Considering the increase in cases in several countries, the now rapidly spreading dominant Delta COVID-19 strain in those countries along with the amount of breakthrough cases; the entry requirements for Sint Maarten will be updated as of 18 July at 12:00 A.M.”
It continued: “All travellers, regardless of vaccination status, coming from high-risk countries are required to be in possession of a negative rt-PCR test within 72 hours before departure. No Antigen test will be accepted from travellers from these countries.”
Meanwhile travellers from the United States and Canada are required to do an rt-PCR test within 72 hours or they can alternatively do an Antigen test within 48 hrs before departure.
The other countries on St. Maarten’s high-risk list now include Curacao, Morocco and Australia, while St. Kitts and Nevis will be updated to Low-Risk country.
On Thursday last week, Governor of the USVI Albert Bryan Jr. announced that travellers from the British Virgin Islands seeking to travel across to the neighbouring United States Virgin Islands will now have to produce a negative COVID-19 test 48 hours prior to travel.
Previously, travelers had to submit negative tests results within five days of travel, or a rapid antigen test or a COVID-19 antibody-positive test within four months of commencement of their trip to the USVI.
He said the new screening protocols will be in full effect as of today, Monday, July 19.
He added, “We are still accepting the positive antibody test as we are doing with all our regular portal travel for other places, but we are going to be taking extra caution, and please don’t try to game the system. We have already made one arrest, and we will make others for people trying to forge their way into the USVI.”
The BVI now has 17 deaths due to COVID-19 and 1,596 active, positive cases.