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COVID-19 protocols have now been put in place at the Ministry of Agriculture’s Animal Reception Centre (ARC), at the Grantley Adams International Airport, in an effort to protect staff from any exposure to the disease.

Veterinary Officer at Veterinary Services, Dr. Vicki Aimey, explained that on arrival to the island pets were transported to the ARC for veterinary checks and customs clearance.

“Since the ARC is a small facility, protocols have been put in place to minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and reduce potential exposure of veterinary and airport personnel to the disease from passengers.

“Pets arriving in the hold of the aircraft on commercial flights will be removed by the airline handling agents and transported directly to the ARC.

However, those pets coming in the cabin or on a private aircraft must be placed in a secure carrier bag or crate and handed directly to the local airline agent, immediately upon exiting the airplane, for transport to the ARC. The documents must be sent with the animal,” Dr. Aimey stressed.

Noting that the Ministry of Health and Wellness had divided countries into risk categories, she said access to the ARC would be determined according to the country from which the passenger arrived.

“High-risk arriving passengers will not be allowed to come to the ARC, while medium and low-risk arriving passengers will not be allowed to enter the centre. With regard to those coming from countries in the bubble, only one arriving passenger will be allowed to enter the ARC, if necessary.

“Where arriving passengers are not allowed to come to or enter the ARC, arrangements must be made for a local representative, for example, a family member, friend, pet transport service or the Customs Broker, to receive the pet at the centre,” she said.

Dr. Aimey advised that masks must be worn at all times by persons entering the ARC; hand sanitisation on entry was mandatory; and no more than two persons would be allowed to enter the facility.  She also indicated that the protocols were subject to change, as warranted.

For queries, persons should call 535-0220 or 535-0221, or email vetservices@agriculture.gov.bb.

sharon.austingill-moore@barbados.gov.bb

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