Chairman Samuel Addresses Recent Cruise Ship Cancellations

Basseterre, St. Kitts, January 29, 2022 (SKNIS): While cruise ships continue to call at Port Zante on St. Kitts at an impressive rate, Chairman of the National COVID-19 Task Force, Abdias Samuel, noted that some vessels were unable to make their scheduled visits as a result of a high positivity rate of confirmed COVID-19 cases.

What we were informed [was] that some of these ships may have had a four or five percent positivity rate on the ship and so, therefore, they themselves would take the position of not coming to our port here in St. Kitts and Nevis to dock,” Mr. Samuel said at the NEOC COVID-19 briefing on January 26, 2022.

Health authorities established a robust health and entry protocol to the Federation that has served the country well by managing the risk of the virus spread. The threshold for cruise vessels is set at a one percent positivity rate. However, a flexible rate of up to 1.7 percent has been applied at times as authorities carefully balance lives and livelihoods.

Chairman Samuel said that there have been discussions about raising the positivity rate threshold.

I cannot say to what number because that has to take another round of discussions,” he said. And then this has to be taken to Cabinet and the Federal Cabinet will determine whether we are at a stage where we can absorb that particular risk in the country by increasing the threshold of the positivity rate percentage.”

Officials will study the experiences of neighbouring countries with a higher percentage threshold and use the data along with other factors to inform the decision-making process.

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