Statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade on the issuance of a Level 4 travel advisory on Barbados by the US Department of State on April 20, 2021.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade has the honour to state that Barbados condemns any travel advisory which, absent of publicly verifiable data, advocates for the prohibition of travel to Barbados on the suggestion that such is inherently dangerous for international travelers.
While cognizant of the Department of State’s consular responsibility to American citizens and residents overseas, Barbados does not accept that its national conditions merit the assignment of a Level-4 advisory customarily reserved for States in the midst of destabilizing conflict or in which American travelers have been targeted for harm.
Barbados is not satisfied that the Department of State’s novel decision to conflate its travel advisories with those of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has been adequately explained to US citizens and residents. Moreover, Barbados is concerned that the narrative of the advisory does not give US travelers the opportunity to make an informed decision on travel to the island based on relevant data. Such data would support that:
- Barbados has seen a consistent decline in the number of new infections and deaths due to COVID-19;
- Barbados has adequate hospital beds and treatment facilities for COVID patients, with treatment provided free at the point of care for all patients, without regard to nationality;
- Barbados has implemented a triple-test and quarantine requirement for unvaccinated international travelers, well in excess of regional entry protocols, to minimize the possibility of local transmission through imported cases;
- Barbados has not identified additional SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern that would significantly diminish vaccine efficacy, and will not waive quarantine requirements for fully-vaccinated travelers whose travel history includes destinations with a high prevalence of such variants;
- Barbados continues to vaccinate at population levels well above several countries, with 70,000 or over one third of its adult population receiving at least a first-dose of a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine; and
- There is no evidence to suggest that there has been exportation of SARS-CoV-2 to the United States from Barbados.
Barbados believes that such data compares favorably to the realities in other major tourist destinations, and regrets that such nuances can never be captured under a blanket Level 4 advisory. At the same time, Barbados notes that some countries have retained a Level-3 travel advisory from the Department of State, while maintaining a Level-4 CDC advisory as at April 20, 2020. Such disparities only strengthen the Government of Barbados’ call for a dispassionate presentation of the facts concerning the public health situation in each country.
Barbados, like the United States, remains of the view that economies cannot remain closed indefinitely as a result of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Regrettably, a Level 4 advisory to travelers from the United States will have a chilling effect on tourism, and does not in any way support the Government’s efforts to secure a durable economic recovery.