Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos Islands (10 March 2020) – The Turks and Caicos Islands Ministry of Tourism, Tourist Board and relevant industry partners are working collaboratively with the Ministry of Health, the lead agency tasked with monitoring the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). To date, the Turks and Caicos Islands has no suspected or confirmed cases of the Novel Coronavirus.
Turks and Caicos Islands Minister of Tourism Hon. Ralph Higgs stated that “we have confidence in the actions and protocols that are in place by the Ministry of Health for the management of this disease. We endorse the Ministry of Health’s updates and releases aimed at safeguarding residents and visitors alike. To date, the Turks and Caicos Islands will continue to review and monitor the risk, as the Ministry of Health implements aggressive protocols, as outlined by regional and international health agencies. ‘
Travel restrictions issued in the press release of March 2nd from the Ministry responsible for Health remain in place on the following:
- All returning residents who have visited infected countries with high transmission such as China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Macau, South Korea, Japan or Italy in the last 14-20 days will have landing privileges but will be subject to health assessment and quarantine. Persons who have visited China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Macau,
Korea, Japan or Italy in the last 14-20 days and who do not have permanent residency or marriage exemption in Turks and Caicos Islands will not be granted landing privileges at any of the country’s ports of entry (sea/air).
As of Tuesday, 10 March, the Cabinet of the Turks and Caicos Islands Government released updated regulations to control the entry of persons to the Turks and Caicos Islands from various countries experiencing an outbreak of COVID-19; these restrictions are similar to that of regional and neighbouring territories to strengthen our approach and assist in safeguarding visitors and residents alike. These restrictions are in accordance with the Turks and Caicos Islands Public and Environmental Health (Control Measures) (COVID-19) Regulations 2020 which came into effect on March 10, 2020. Further information regarding the requirements may be retrieved by visiting Cabinet approves Control Measures.
The Turks and Caicos Islands tourism industry is under heightened surveillance to ensure the safety of visitors to the destination and our residents alike. A nation-wide education campaign is underway to remind residents and visitors of basic hygiene practices that can be used to prevent the spread of the virus including:
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food. • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. • Stay home when you are sick and do not travel. • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
• Staying home when you are sick is recommended every flu season, but especially important now.
The Turks and Caicos Islands is following the protocol outlined in the International Health Regulation (IHR) and reporting to Public Health England/PAHO as appropriate. Similarly, all the necessary protocols are in place for the Cruise Ship Industry and the residents and visitors of Grand Turk.
The Ministry of Health is currently operating emergency health hotlines from 6am to 11pm (EST) to provide residents and visitors with urgent information about the Coronavirus. The hotline may be reached by calling 649-333-0911 or 649-232-9444. Additional information is also available by visiting https://www.gov.tc/moh/coronavirus.
The Ministry of Tourism will also liaise with partners to determine the exact extent of the impact of this disease on the industry, and put in place the appropriate measures regarding public relations and marketing strategies that are or will become necessary to safeguard this vital industry. We urge everyone to follow the necessary guidelines and ‘keep in the know’ to ensure your health and safety.