LONDON, June 9, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The government of the Commonwealth of Dominica announced on Friday that previously closed businesses are now allowed to open by adhering to strict guidelines. The Caribbean island has had a good track record with no deaths and 18 COVID-19 cases, after an additional two cruise crew member were confirmed positive and isolated, arriving from a repatriation vessel at the end of May. The government continues a cautious approach to reopening the economy.
All repatriated Dominican citizens follow strictly enforced guidelines, government officials announced, while making the 14-day quarantine safe and comfortable. Ms Calma Lewis, Dominica's Senior Environmental Health Officer, explained the protocols and certification businesses are required to follow and obtain to be allowed to operate safely. The government has also started a thorough community-based screening programme, National Epidemiologist Dr Shalauddin Ahmed announced on Friday.
"In view of our present situation, where we have no evidence of community spread, it has been considered to further relax the restrictive measures regarding the curfew hours and also allowing the remaining businesses, which are presently not open, to do so," said Dr. Irving McIntyre, Dominica's Health Minister on Friday. "That's to include tour operators, staycations, cinemas, bars, lotto blast and gyms, as well as the returning of public officers to their normal pre-Covid stations and arrangements," he added. Dr McIntyre said that the government is announcing further details on lifting restrictive measures this week.
Nonetheless, the Dominican Health Minister advises that these relaxations still require upholding precautions: "The returning home of our fellow Dominicans and increasing relaxation of our restrictive measures should not result in us letting down our guard and losing focus. The public health and social measures such as washing of hands, proper wearing of masks and physical distancing must remain in practice. This new normal way of life calls for a change in mindset from all of us."
As for when tourists may return to the Nature Isle of the Caribbean, Dr McIntyre says that this will depend on regional developments and other countries' experience. "Our challenge remains the opening of our borders, but that is the challenge for every country," says the Health Minister. "Opening the borders does present the risk of importing cases, which we are fully aware of, particularly if it's done too early […] This cannot be done in isolation, but should be done with the wider region in mind. We must also be pragmatic in our approach so as to achieve the safest and most appropriate option for our country. We'll also learn from those who [will] have opened their borders earlier than the science suggests."
The Health Minister thanked businesses who got involved, international donors for their technical support and supplies, all frontline workers and all those who "made Dominica the safer place to be."
The island does not currently have an international airport though this may soon change with funding raised from its world-leading Citizenship by Investment Programme and other donors such as the World Bank. Dominica focuses on ecotourism which involves nature immersion and intimacy and thus a very low concentration of tourists. Reputable foreign investors contribute to Dominica's ecotourism by investing in a selection of luxury hotels and obtaining the country's valuable citizenship in return. Alternatively, they contribute to a government fund in exchange for citizenship, which sponsors projects in healthcare advancement, education, youth empowerment, climate resilience, housing, green energy and many other aspects of life in Dominica.
SOURCE CS Global Partners