Wed | Oct 20, 2021

Trinidad and Tobago to reopen borders on July 17

Published:Saturday | June 26, 2021 | 4:50 PM
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said that measures are being put in place to penalise those who circumvent the protocols - Contributed photo.

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – The Trinidad and Tobago government Saturday announced a reopening of its borders come July 17 and warned that unvaccinated foreigners will not be allowed into the country as it moves to deal with the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, speaking at the weekly news conference, said that the reopening of the Piarco International Airport to scheduled flights would take into consideration three categories of persons.

“Category One are citizens of Trinidad and Tobago [who are] vaccinated. Category Two [are] citizens of Trinidad and Tobago [who are] unvaccinated, and Category Three [are] other persons [who are] unvaccinated.”

He told reporters that “non-nationals of Trinidad and Tobago who are unvaccinated will not, at this time, be allowed to enter the country.

“Nationals of Trinidad and Tobago who are fully vaccinated, and a fully vaccinated person is defined as a person who has received the required number of doses of a WHO [World Health Organization] approved vaccine and it has been two weeks since the final dose was applied, such a person who is a citizen or legal resident in Trinidad and Tobago would be allowed to enter, having shown proof of a negative PCR test less than 72 hours, such a person will be allowed to travel into Trinidad and Tobago without a hindrance and will be allowed to go home”.

But he said those citizens or residents arriving without being vaccinated “must go into state-supervised quarantine for 14 days and “you must, in order to enter unvaccinated, be able to show proof of a PCR test not older than 72 hours.”

He said that the state-supervised quarantine facilities would be at venues such as approved hotels “and that would be at your own expense”.

He said children who are not vaccinated would be allowed to enter the country once accompanied by their vaccinated parents and allowed to go home from the airport.

But Rowley warned persons who would seek to beat the system that measures are being put in place to ensure that “they feel the full brunt of the law.

“The vaccination does not mean an end to the response to COVID,” he said, adding “and I spoke with the authorities about penalties for coming in unvaccinated and attempting to beat the system of not going into state-supervised quarantine. I am going to talk with the Attorney General to ensure that those penalties are, in fact, a deterrent and that law enforcement will keep a close eye on you because we know that there are people who will want to come in having not complying with the requirements…may believe that they are already in Trinidad and Tobago and also persons who may want to come out of the quarantine.

“One person caused Sydney [Australia] to shut down. So any person who comes into this country and decides to play fast and loose with our quarantine system and our entry requirements will face the full brunt of the law.”

Rowley said there are also plans to follow other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries and implement a digitalise system where persons wishing to travel could provide their personal information as requested “with an app that will be available…as you book your flight with the airline that you are using.

“This system is already in place at a couple of our Caribbean countries. We will be using the same system and, therefore, it should run relatively smoothly and is being put in place now to be able in two weeks' time to be operationalise,” Rowley added.

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