Reciprocity expected among countries participating in travel bubble

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By Shermain Bique-Charles

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The country is about a week away from implementing the much talked about travel bubble, an initiative already underway in a few other Caribbean islands.

The move allows citizens of another Caricom state to enter Antigua and Barbuda without the need to have a negative Covid-19 certificate.

A few weeks ago, the government started the process and yesterday, Information Minister Melford Nicholas said so far, the requirements include proof of a 14-day residency in the country of embarkation, the absence of any symptoms of Covid-19, and a travel history that excludes travel to any highly-infected country.

“There is still going to be a requirement for persons travelling to Antigua and Barbuda from within the travel bubble, to be able to obtain a PCR test. Before the travel is initiated, they must be resident in the country where they are coming from for a minimum of 14 days and within that time, they must obtain a PCR test,” he said.

It is also the government’s hope that residents of Antigua and Barbuda will be able to enter the countries within the travel bubble under the same terms and condition.

 “Reciprocity is hoping that this is something that we are hoping will be obtained. Each country is going to make their decision in terms of how they see the risks and how they would want to deal with it,” Nicholas explained.

Furthermore, he said LIAT could be resuming flights soon, thereby allowing the easier movement of Caribbean nationals.

 “We are anticipating that LIAT will be back in the skies within the not too distant future with the ability for people to be able to travel within the OECS and within Caricom. LIAT will have an opportunity to be able to deliver these passengers in and out of these countries,” he said.

There have been concerns about the spread of Covid-19 after talks of travel bubble within the region emerged.

However, Minister Nicholas explained that the risk is equal on both sides, in that the level of Covid-19 infections in many of the countries are similar.

However, he said that some protocols will remain in place to curtail the spread of the virus, even while travelers take advantage of the travel bubble.

The matter is expected to be discussed at a Cabinet level next week after the requirements have been tweaked.

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