Public Consultation - Amendments to Tourism Ordinance

Cockburn Town, Grand Turk, TCI, June 24, 2022 – The Ministry of Tourism, Environment, Fisheries and Marine Affairs, Culture and Heritage, Agriculture, Religious Affairs and Gaming would like to notify the public of a 5 - week consultation on the amendments to the following ordinances and introduction of regulation as follow:

  1. Tourism Accommodations (Licensing) (Amendment) Bill 2020
  2. Tourist Accommodation (Licensing) Regulation 2020

The public consultation will commence 24th June 2022 and end 31st July 2022.  The proposed amendments are in keeping with regional best practices and international standards to ensure consistency in quality product and services across the accommodation sector.

The documents can be found on the Turks and Caicos Islands Government webpage at www.gov.tc.

All interested stakeholders and the general public alike, are invited to review these documents and submit any comments/queries in writing to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We ask that the referenced Bill is clearly marked in the subject line when submitting.

The Turks and Caicos Islands Ministry of Health and Human Services Celebrates Vaccination Week in the Americas 2022

This week the Turks and Caicos Islands join the Region of the Americas in celebrating Vaccination Week in the Americas (VWA) April 24th to 30th, 2022 under the theme “Are you fully vaccinated? #getallyourshots”.  The effectiveness of vaccines provides a safety net to us all; those who can receive and those of us who cannot receive vaccines.  Vaccinating not only protects individuals who have been vaccinated, but also protects those in the community who are unable to be vaccinated. Vaccines remain the number one public good and their benefits are undeniable-from the eradication of smallpox to the elimination of measles, rubella, and congenital rubella syndrome (CRS). 

 

This is the 20th year that the Region is celebrating VWA.  The dedicated week began as part of a response to an outbreak of measles in the Americas which took place between Venezuela and Colombia in 2002.  To prevent future emergencies such as these, the Ministers of Health proposed the idea of a coordinated initiative. Since the start of VWA, VPDs (vaccine preventable diseases) have been eliminated from 6 Regions and 908,000,000 persons have been vaccinated.  Expanded programmes on immunization continue to make great achievements, but they must remain vigilant to maintain these gains. 

 

This year the TCI will maintain its focus on protecting the population. The objective of this week is to provide access to vaccines for all residents, increase vaccination coverage in all antigens, and raise awareness about the importance of childhood vaccinations, vaccine safety and effectiveness.  

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted immunization programmes in many countries which has resulted in some countries experiencing outbreaks of VPDs. Neighbouring countries including countries within easy reach of the TCI are experiencing outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases (VPDs) such as Diphtheria and Measles, so it is important to ensure that the TCI population is well protected. 

 

 While the TCI has very good immunity (90% and over), we continue to aim for greater coverages and to maintain those coverages.  If you are unsure about your protection against VPDs, you should seek advice from your primary care physician. 

 

If your child/children are missing a vaccine(s), please call your local primary care clinic for an appointment to bring your child/children up to date. 

 

The MOH would also like to take this opportunity to remind persons eligible to be vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine, to get vaccinated. Boosters, including the fourth dose, are available for eligible persons through health care facilities throughout the TCI. The COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective and is the best means of protecting yourself and others against COVID-19 and helping to end the COVID-19 pandemic.Help us keep the TCI, VPD free! #GetVax #vaccineswork 

Updated entry requirements for the Turks and Caicos Islands

 

Effective May 1st 2022, there will be new entry requirements for the Turks and Caicos Islands. 

Visitors and residents will no longer be required to; 

  • Apply for Travel Authorisation 
  • Provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test prior to arrival 
  • Complete a health screening questionnaire 
  • Present evidence of travel insurance which covers COVID-19 medical costs and full hospitalization, doctors’ visits, prescriptions and air ambulance.  
  • Wear masks/face coverings 
  •  

Visitors are however, fully responsible for the cost of quarantine/isolation, hospitalization or medical repatriation in the event they test positive during their stay. 

 

All visitors over the age of 18 years must be fully vaccinated as defined below: 

 

What does fully-vaccinated mean? 

Fully-vaccinated means 14 days after receiving the second dose of any World Health Organization (WHO) approved vaccine course (or 14 days after the first dose if a single dose course such as the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine). The list of WHO approved vaccines includes the following: 

  • Moderna (mRNA-1273) - Spikevax 
  • Pfizer/BioNTech (BNT162b2) - Comirnaty 
  • Janssen/Johnson & Johnson (Ad26.COV2.S) 
  • AstraZeneca (AZD1222) - Vaxzevria 
  • Covishield (AstraZeneca) 
  • Novavax (NVX-CoV2373) (includes COVOVAX) 
  • Covaxin 
  • Sinopharm Vero Cells (BBiBP-CorV) 
  • Sinovac CoronaVac 

You must have received your final dose of an approved vaccine course at least 14 days prior to arrival or entry will be denied. 

 

Proof of Vaccination 

Proof of vaccination is either a digital or paper record which must be presented on arrival. Acceptable forms are: 

  • E-certificate/digital certificate (such as those from CVS, Walgreens, or the NHS). 
  • Certification issued by a doctor or government entity. 
  • Vaccination cards/certificates accepted by national authorities. 
  • A letter signed by a medical professional (physician or registered nurse) on official letterhead with contact details. Doctor's registration or license number should be included with details of the first and second dose (date, country and vaccine you received). 
  • Authorized government entity record or printed record from an electronic vaccination database. 

 

Exemptions to Mandatory Vaccination 

The following persons are exempt from requiring a COVID-19 vaccine: 

  • Visitors under the age 18 years 
  • Visitors who are not able to take a COVID-19 vaccine due to medical reasons. However, written and signed proof from a medical professional clearly stating that they are medically exempted from taking the vaccine must be submitted to the Ministry of Health on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Persons seeking a medical exemption should send a request with all supporting documentation to vaccineThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  at least 2 weeks prior to travel. This is in order to allow sufficient time for review by the Government. Individuals must present evidence of the approval of the medical exemption from the Ministry of Health. 
  • Crew members of a cargo/commercial aircraft or cargo ship arriving for work and expected to remain for less than 24 hours. 
  • Crew members of air ambulances, which includes any medical personnel on board. 
  • Persons offering to provide emergency aid in times of crisis. 
  • Persons who have written permission from the Chief Medical Officer 

Please note that there are no exemptions to the vaccination requirement for religious reasons.

 

Unvaccinated returning residents 

Residents who have not received both doses of the vaccine as outlined above are still required to undergo quarantine for a period of seven days on arrival. A negative test is required at the end of quarantine for release. If the test is positive, the individual must isolate in accordance with the Ministry of Health’s guidelines (https://www.gov.tc/moh/coronavirus/guidance/1581-guidance-for-persons-who-test-positive-for-covid-19). 

 

For further information, please visit the Ministry of Health’s website https://www.gov.tc/moh/coronavirus/. 

 

ENDS

Hepatitis Outbreak

An outbreak of hepatitis has been reported in children in multiple countries. According to the World Health Organization, as of 21 April 2022, at least 169 cases of acute hepatitis of unknown origin have been reported from 11 countries in the WHO European Region and one country in the WHO Region of the Americas. The majority of cases have been reported in the UK with 114 identified thus far, Spain (13), Israel (12), the United States of America (9), Denmark (6), Ireland (<5), The Netherlands (4), Italy (4), Norway (2), France (2), Romania (1), and Belgium (1).

Affected children range in age from one month to sixteen years with one death reported and seventeen (17) children requiring liver transplantation.

In these cases, acute hepatitis, which results in liver inflammation, has been reported with symptoms such as abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting preceding presentation with severe acute hepatitis, and increased levels of liver enzymes and jaundice (yellowing of skin). Most cases did not have a fever and were not associated with the viruses usually responsible for hepatitis.

Investigations into this outbreak are ongoing to identify the causes of this outbreak. Adenoviruses have been identified in some cases. Adenoviruses are common viruses that cause a range of illness. They can cause cold-like symptoms, fever, sore throat, bronchitis, pneumonia, diarrhea, and pink eye (conjunctivitis). Adenoviruses usually cause mild illness with reports of hepatitis being rare.

On Thursday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a health advisory which alerted health care providers and public health authorities of an investigation into acute cases of hepatitis with unknown causes.

Parents are reminded to ensure that their children practice the usual hygiene measures such as thorough handwashing and good respiratory hygiene which help to reduce the spread of many common infections, including adenovirus.

The Ministry of Health will continue to monitor this situation.

Outbreak of Meningococcal Disease Reported in Florida

The CDC has recently issued an alert regarding an outbreak of meningitis in Florida, primarily among gay, bisexual, and men who have sex with men, including those living with HIV. The number of cases reported is higher than the five-year average and investigations are currently underway. Meningococcal disease is caused by the bacteria Neisseria meningitidis.  Carriers of this disease have this bacterium in the back of their nose and throat without showing illness.  This occurs in 1 in 10 persons.  There are different types of this bacteria, however, those of concern causing the outbreak in Florida are types B, C and Y.

Meningococcal disease spreads from person to person by respiratory or throat secretions.  Therefore, the bacteria are spread through close or lengthy contact with an infected person.  The bacteria cannot be contracted through respiratory droplets i.e., breathing the same air as an infected person.  Complications of this disease are serious and including meningitis and bloodstream infections (septicemia). 

The most common signs and symptoms of the disease include fever, headache, and a stiff neck.  This can also be accompanied by nausea and vomiting.  Because the disease affects the brain, sensitivity to light and confusion is also possible. It can also be fatal in some cases.

Prevention of this disease is through vaccination with the meningococcal vaccine for high-risk groups.  High risk groups include infants, teens and college students who share dorm rooms, the elderly, and people with a weakened immune system.  It is important to note that the vaccine does not guarantee 100% protection against the disease.

Antibiotics can also be used to prevent close contacts of those infected from becoming sick.  Close contacts are people living in the same household, roommates, and anyone in direct contact with the infected person’s oral secretions. Reinfection with the disease is still possible even after contracting and recovering from the disease. 

The TCI has not recorded any cases of meningococcal disease as a result of the recent outbreak in Florida.  The last reported case of meningococcal disease in the TCI was in 2012 through importation in a middle-aged visitor with comorbidities.  It was a single case who unfortunately succumbed to the disease.

The TCI offers the Pentavalent vaccine to the under 5 years population which offers protection against bacterial meningitis.  Over the years the coverage in this vaccine has been maintained at 90% and above.  The meningococcal vaccine is not a part of the TCI’s routine vaccination program. Persons interested in the meningococcal vaccine, particularly those in the vulnerable group, are encouraged to speak with their primary care provider for more information about the vaccine.

 

Turks & Caicos Government

Office of the Governor

Office of the Deputy Governor

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