New COVID-19 test rules create logistical hurdles for the Caribbean

By Allison Lampert and Tracy Rucinski (Reuters) - Caribbean tourism officials are rushing to increase COVID-19 testing capacity after the United States became the latest country to require nearly all arriving passengers to present a negative test within 72 hours of departure. Some tropical vacation spots, which attract U.S.

Reuters January 15, 2021 00:12:59 IST
New COVID-19 test rules create logistical hurdles for the Caribbean

COVID-19 test rules create logistical hurdles for the Caribbean" src="https://images.firstpost.com/wp-content/uploads/reuters/01-2021/15/2021-01-14T165712Z_1_LYNXMPEH0D1A6_RTROPTP_2_HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS-AIRLINES.jpg" alt="New COVID19 test rules create logistical hurdles for the Caribbean" width="300" height="225" />

By Allison Lampert and Tracy Rucinski

(Reuters) - Caribbean tourism officials are rushing to increase COVID-19 testing capacity after the United States became the latest country to require nearly all arriving passengers to present a negative test within 72 hours of departure.

Some tropical vacation spots, which attract U.S. tourists banned from traveling to other regions, face a strain on their COVID-19 testing resources as more governments take additional steps to curb a second wave of the pandemic.

Jamaica on Wednesday named a special task force to boost the country's COVID-19 testing capacity following the new U.S. order which goes into effect on Jan. 26.

Vanessa Ledesma, acting CEO and director general of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association, called COVID-19 testing rules from the United States, Canada and Britain "a tremendous challenge" for the region due to a lack of testing equipment and lab facilities that can meet large demand in short turnaround times.

"Most of the region needs additional time to rapidly build up additional capacity," she said by email.

U.S. infectious disease specialist Dr. David Freedman warned of the risk of straining resources in poor countries that are struggling to test their own residents.

While analysts and some airline executives expect the new order will disrupt demand in the short term, U.S. carriers back the testing rules with the long-term goal of reopening international markets.

"I think you can see some short-term demand fluctuation but it's the right answer for the long term," Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian told Reuters ahead of the carrier's earnings on Thursday.

With global travel limited by COVID-19 restrictions, the Caribbean is important for U.S. carriers American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta as well as for low-cost carriers like Southwest Airlines Co and Spirit Airlines.

Unlike the U.S. announcement, a decision by Canada to require testing for inbound passengers as of Jan. 7 caught airlines by surprise. Hundreds of passengers were denied boarding on return flights for ineligible tests.

Air Canada and WestJet Airlines announced job cuts after the government decision, citing in part new testing requirements.

In turn, Canada had to postpone the requirement for travelers from Jamaica to adhere to the negative COVID-19 tests on arrival, instead allowing passengers to test upon arrival in Toronto.

(Reporting by Allison Lampert in Montreal and Tracy Rucinski in Chicago; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

Snow-struck Madrid struggles with cleanup as severe frost grips Spain
World

Snow-struck Madrid struggles with cleanup as severe frost grips Spain

By Elena Rodriguez and Belén Carreño MADRID (Reuters) - Authorities struggled to clear ice and fallen trees from the streets of Madrid on Tuesday and temperatures in parts of Spain hit record lows after a snowstorm wrought havoc across the country at the weekend. Early jubilation at the historic snowfall, which saw skiers gliding through the streets and mass snowball fights, gave way to frustration as most public transport remained stalled and pedestrians avoided the icy streets. "You in Madrid are not ready for this," said Demetrio, a Ukrainian living in Madrid, who did not give his last name.

Trump disavows any responsibility for his supporters' Jan. 6 attack
World

Trump disavows any responsibility for his supporters' Jan. 6 attack

By Steve Holland and Andrea Shalal JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md./WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump, facing impeachment on a charge of "incitement of insurrection" on Tuesday disavowed responsibility for his supporters' violent invasion of the U.S. Capitol last week and said his remarks before the siege were appropriate.

Renault and Plug Power to develop fuel-cell commerical vehicles
News & Analysis

Renault and Plug Power to develop fuel-cell commerical vehicles

PARIS (Reuters) - French carmaker Renault and U.S. hydrogen specialist Plug Power have joined forces to develop hydrogen-powered light commercial vehicles, they said on Tuesday. The companies have signed a memorandum of understanding to launch a France-based 50-50 joint venture by the end of the first half of 2021, targeting more than 30% share of the fuel cell-powered light commercial vehicle market in Europe, their joint statement said