The government of the Virgin Islands has decided through Cabinet to “strongly encourage” all persons who associate with cruise passengers and crew members to become fully vaccinated or undertake a bimonthly COVID-19 testing, following the removal of previous restrictions to cruise passengers.
This is according to a recent publication of a post-Cabinet Meeting statement dated November 5.
According to the document, Cabinet made the decision through amendments that were added to the “Cruise Protocol and Operation Plan”,
It read, “[Cabinet] decided that persons who interface with Cruise Passengers and Crew be strongly encouraged to become fully vaccinated, and if they are not fully vaccinated, be strongly encouraged to undertake bimonthly testing; and noted that the amendments in (a)(i)(ii) and (iv) have been included in the revised plan.”
Cruise passengers no longer having to test on arrival
Cabinet also decided that all cruise passengers who are onboard a vessel where the BVI is the first port of call, will no longer be required to test on arrival to be allowed access into the population, once they have a negative PCR or Rapid Antigen test and are fully vaccinated.
However, the government did say that cruise passengers who do not meet the aforementioned requirements will still be subjected to a rapid test on arrival if they want to roam the BVI.
“Fully vaccinated cruise passengers for whom the BVI is not their first port of call and who have not had an antigen test within 48 hours of arrival in the BVI, should be required to remain in the bubble and if they want to leave their bubble, be required to have an antigen test on arrival, the cost of which would be borne by the Government of the Virgin Islands,” the statement read.
Cabinet also removed the previous requirement for vaccination dates and other medical records which they say are not kept by the Cruise Lines as per the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) laws in the USA that prohibits maintaining or storing of medical records with third parties.