CORONA VIRUS UPDATE
Dominica’s COVID – 19 Active Cases down to 1
As of May 10th, 2020, the total number of confirmed COVID 19 cases in Dominica remained at 16, while 15 persons have recovered. Out of the 420 persons tested so far, 404 have tested negative. While the total number of COVID deaths remains at 0, 14 persons are still in Government Quarantine. This number represents frontline workers who are completing mandatory checks before going home to family.
Effective May 12, 2020, lawyers’ offices and accounting firms are allowed to reopen to the public providing that the public health and safety protocols set by the Ministry of Health are adhered to. Additional recommendations will be made for the reopening of other businesses on May 18, 2020 as specific guidelines and protocols are currently being developed for this. The Minister also noted that schools and churches will only be reopened if there is “firm evidence of the absence of community spread. For detailed information on Dominica’s COVID 19 situation log on to our Dominica Update page at http://dominicaupdate.com
The Ministry of Tourism, International Transport and Maritime Initiatives has appointed a Task Force to review and make recommendations for the recovery and growth of the Tourism industry post COVID-19.
The Task Force comprises an experienced cadre of public and private sector tourism stakeholders. The mandate of the Task Force is to enable stakeholders to participate in the destination’s preparation for the Tourism recovery post COVID- 19 in terms of our product offerings, product integrity and our communications plans.
The Task Force will focus on the recovery of both the stayover and cruise sectors. The Task Force will be in place for up to six months in the first instance and the expectation is that the Task Force will review current and future action and implementation plans and make recommendations for the short, medium and longer term as the market and pandemic allows.
To further prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Governments have imposed travel restrictions. Consequently, many major airlines have suspended, reduced, or cut flights to affected regions. Airlines in the Caribbean continue to update on their services:
WINAIR’S COST CUTTING MEASURES
In a press release dated May 9th, 2020, WINAIR announced that it had implemented various initiatives which are essential if it is to survive and assist with the ongoing success of St. Maarten.
The current shutdown of routes has resulted in a near total loss of all revenue; therefore, it is important to assess itself financially in order to remain in existence post COVID-19. For further detail on WINAIR’s cost cutting initiative please visit https://www.fly-winair.sx/winairs-cost-cutting-measures-54.html
U.S. FAA DOWNGRADES SAFETY RATING of EASTERN CARIBBEAN AVIATION SYSTEM RAING
WASHINGTON — The Federal Aviation Administration said Friday May 8th that it had downgraded the safety rating for the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), a move that means carriers from those island nations cannot start new service. The “Category 2” rating covers Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, as well as St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The FAA said the group did not comply with international safety standards. https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2020/05/08/world/08reuters-usa-aviation-caribbean.html
OECS RESPONSE TO U.S. FAA DOWNGRADE OF EASTERN CARIBBEAN AVIATION SYSTEM RAING
The Authority of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) met on Sunday, May 10 to review the recent announcement by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that it has assigned a Category 2 rating to OECS Member States under its International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) program.
The Authority noted with appreciation that the FAA clearly stated in its announcement that “OECS carriers can continue existing service to the United States”. Therefore, as a practical matter, aircrafts that now fly to US airports, including the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, are not affected.
The Heads of Government expressed their keen intention to work closely with the FAA in resolving the issues that would restore the OECS’ Category 1 status that has been in place since 2007. https://pressroom.oecs.org/oecs-authority-keen-to-work-with-faa-to-restore-category-1-status
LIAT is in ‘A VERY PRECARIOUS SITUATION’ and WILL NEED a BAILOUT, ANTIGUA PM SAYS
Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne says COVID-19 has dealt a severe blow to regional airline LIAT, and the carrier will need a bailout. Browne was at the time on Pointe FM’s Browne & Browne show reacting to Friday’s US FAA downgrade of the Eastern Caribbean Aviation system and its impact of the beleaguered LIAT.
He stated, fortunately LIAT, which is the sub-regional airline, and regional airline will continue to fly within US territories to include the US Virgin Islands. See more on Prime Minister Brown’s remark via https://barbadostoday.bb/2020/05/10/liat-is-in-a-very-precarious-situation-and-will-need-a-bailout-antigua-pm-says/
Post COVID-19, there will be changes to the protocols that destinations will need to follow. One critical area of the visitor’s trip is the accommodation experience. DDA through the Product Development Department and Quality Assurance Unit will be active along with other stakeholders to develop the local protocols to ensure thatthe destination offers a safe experience to the visitor.
Local Trade Partners
Tranquility Beach Resort by Hilton Hotels Continues assistance to the Ministry of Health
Tranquility Beach Resort Curio – a Hilton Collection, donated CPAP machines to the Ministry of Health Wellness and New Health Investment, and gift baskets to frontline workers. The Hotel had recently donated 3 ventilators to assist the Ministry with its efforts towards combating the Corona Virus in Dominica.
Center for Disease Control &Prevention (CDC) renewed the No Sail Order
On April 9, 2020, the Center for Disease Control &Prevention (CDC) renewed the No Sail Order and Other Measures Related to Operations Order signed by the CDC Director on March 14, 2020—subject to the modifications and additional stipulated conditions as set forth in this Order. The Order is published in the Federal Register and effective as of April 15, 2020. The extended Order is in effect until one of the following occurs:
- The Secretary of Health and Human Services declares that COVID-19 no longer constitutes a public health emergency, or
- The CDC Director rescinds or modifies the order based on specific public health or other considerations, or
- 100 days have passed from April 15, the date the extended order was published in the Federal Register and went into effect. 100 days from April 15 is July 24. https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2020-07930
Discover Dominica Authority will continue to monitor the situation with Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) and the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA), along with updates form cruise lines.
When the Major Cruise Lines Plan to Restart Service
On May 11th 2020, Cruise Industry News have announced how major cruise lines are planning to start operations again this summer: Visit https://www.cruiseindustrynews.com/cruise-news/22921-when-the-major-cruise-lines-plan-to-restart-service-2.html for further details on cruise lines re-opening plans.
Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival Cruise Line, in an update, said it intends to start cruising again with some ships in North America starting on August 1, while other itineraries and ships are projected to start service again later this year. Carnival plans to have eight ships in service from Miami, Port Canaveral and Galveston on short cruises.
Royal Caribbean International
Royal Caribbean announced it had extended its suspension of sailing for its global fleet through June 11, 2020. The company said it plans to return to service on June 12, 2020, with some previously announced exceptions. Most crew is also being sent home.
MSC Cruises announced further extension of the halting of all its new cruise departures fleetwide through to July 10.
MSC Cruises USA is offering guests affected by this measure a Future Cruise Credit (FCC) where they have the opportunity to transfer the full amount paid for their cancelled cruise plus an additional 25 percent credit to a future cruise of their choice, on any ship and any itinerary, departing on or before December 31, 2021.
Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Cruise Line announced in late April an extension of its pause of service through the end of June. Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings recently raised enough capital to keep it going in a zero-revenue situation through early 2021.
Costa ships are out of service through early July at this point.
Princess Cruises, in a recent update, cancelled the remainder of its summer season.
All AIDA sailings through June 30 are currently cancelled.
Royal Caribbean, which owns Celebrity, announced it had extended its suspension of sailing for its global fleet through June 11, 2020.
Holland America Line
Holland America Line has extended its pause of global cruise operations and cancelled all Alaska, Europe and Canada/New England cruises for 2020, according to a press release.
FCCA held a conference call to update its platinum partners on the activities of the Association in the cruise industry as well as to update about the opportunities for when all clear is given to resume cruising. They stated that the Caribbean will be in demand.
On Tuesday, May 12, 2020 DDA partnered with FCCA and Aquilla to hold an online readiness program with stakeholders in the industry. This workshop lead participants through a collaborative process for looking ahead to maximize cruise opportunities in the destination, while exploring opportunities for working together. Focused areas of the workshop comprised An Overview of the Cruise Industry, Excellence in Destination Delivery, Excellence in Operations, Safety and Security, Excellence in Community, and Maximizing Opportunities Action Plan. Discover Dominica welcomed the opportunity of this timely program, and thank the organizers, while positioning for reopening, post COVID – 19.
Organization of the American States (OAS)
The Organization of the American States (OAS) – Executive Secretariat for Integral Development has informed of the availability of two free interactive web-based courses in response to COVID 19:
- IS-317.A: Introduction to Community Emergency Response Team Introduction to Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), IS-317.A, is an independent study course that serves as an introduction to CERT for those interested in completing the basic CERT training or as a refresher for current team members. https://training.fema.gov/is/courseoverview.aspx?code=IS317.a
- IS-315.A: CERT and the Incident Command System (ICS) The Incident Command System (ICS) is a proven management system used by emergency managers. Applying ICS during a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) activation will help maintain the safety of disaster workers, provide clear leadership and organizational structure, and improve the effectiveness of rescue efforts. This course will cover the principles of ICS and help learners understand how to effectively apply the principles through interactive real-life scenarios. https://training.fema.gov/is/courseoverview.aspx?code=IS-315.a
With the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the upcoming hurricane season, these courses are timely as they address disaster preparedness and trains and organizes teams of volunteers that can support communities during disasters.
For additional information and registration, please visit: http://www.oas.org/en/scholarships/PAEC/2020/GS-OAS-SEDI-AnnouncementFEMACERTTraining-ENG.pdf
GLOBAL/ REGIONAL UPDATE
Canary Islands and UNWTO Agree New Digital Health Passport for Holidaymakers Post-COVID-19
The Canary Islands and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) have agreed on a pilot flight in July for the world’s first ‘safe’ flight using the Digital Health Passport, developed by Canarian company Hi + Card.
The mobile application, developed by a Canarian company, Hi + Card, has been selected by the UNWTO to launch the project, which will become a digital health passport, storing medical records, that will allow passengers to travel safely, traceably and with data immutability.
UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili has pointed out that “in these exceptional times, in which the Covid-19 pandemic has shaken the world economy and threatened our tourism sector, innovation becomes the cornerstone of the recuperation. The trips will no longer be as before. Rather, they will become safer and more sustainable to continue providing benefits to nations and communities.” Visit https://nitravelnews.com/news/canary-islands-and-utwto-agree-new-digital-health-passport-for-holidaymakers-post-covid-19/ for more interesting details on this
Caribbean Has Achieved COVID-19 Containment – Researcher
The coronavirus (COVID-19) has been contained in the English-speaking Caribbean and Haiti, according to a leading researcher and academic.
However, Dr. Clive Landis, pro-vice-chancellor for undergraduate studies and research, and professor of cardiovascular research at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Cave Hill campus in Barbados, and the chairman of the UWI COVID-19 task force, says this does not mean that the Caribbean is out of danger.
Landis, the guest on this week’s Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) podcast, COVID-19: The Unwelcome Visitor, led the research into the progress of the virus in the 15-member Caribbean Community, as well as the British Overseas Territories.
“The bottom line for the whole Caribbean is that the Caribbean has avoided the kind of outbreak, the kind of epidemic that we’ve seen in many European countries…and north America. We’ve avoided that,” he says in the podcast which is available at www.anchor.fm/onecaribbean , Spotify, and the CTO’s Facebook page, among other platforms.
“I want to stress that when you have achieved containment…you are looking to find cases in clusters and having a cluster, there’s nothing wrong with that. That actually shows you are doing your surveillance. We map how each Caribbean country has done from the first case and we can say quite confidently that these countries have achieved containment,” says Landis.
He also advises that before opening their borders to international travel, every Caribbean destination should have public health nurses who are trained in detecting acute respiratory illnesses in every hotel and all areas of potential risk.
In this podcast, Landis addresses a range of subjects including what countries must look for in order to determine whether or not they’ve reached their peak, the projections for the region and the future of travel, which he says will likely include immunity passports and health certificates. For more information on the Caribbean Tourism Organization, please visit www.OneCaribbean.org
For COVID related information on Dominica please visit our Dominica Update site at http://dominicaupdate.com/.
For more information on Dominica, contact Discover Dominica Authority at 767 448 2045. Or, visit Dominica’s official website: www.DiscoverDominica.com , follow Dominica on Twitter and Facebook and take a look at our videos on YouTube.
About Dominica: Dominica (pronounced Dom-in-EEK-a, and not to be confused with the Dominican Republic) is a haven for adventure travelers seeking a unique vacation that includes: hiking and adventure, cultural events/festivals, diving and water sports, whale/dolphin watching and canyoning adventures. Dominica lies south of Guadeloupe and north of Martinique in the Eastern Caribbean. Air travelers can connect to Dominica on Air Antilles, Air Sunshine, Coastal Air Transport, interCaribbean Airways, LIAT, Seaborne Airlines, or WINAIR from the surrounding hubs of Antigua, Barbados, Guadeloupe, Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, St Lucia, the British Virgin Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands. If travelling by sea, travelers can connect to Dominica on L’Express Des Iles ferry service from Guadeloupe, Martinique, and St. Lucia and on Valferry from Guadeloupe and Martinique