Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley’s address to the nation – January 26, 2021. (PMO)

Two major changes to Barbados’ travel protocols will take effect from midnight, February 3.   

Those changes are a mandatory rapid antigen test on arrival in the island and the extension of mandatory quarantine from two nights to five nights.

During an address to the nation from Ilaro Court tonight, Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley disclosed that after consultation with the Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners, the changes to Barbados’ travel protocols would be implemented, in addition to the already established protocols. 

She stated: “We will also introduce in Barbados a mandatory rapid antigen test on arrival, because those tests pick up persons who are positive and who can be pulled out immediately for any further action….

“Once you have a negative test, you will then go to a government authorised quarantine centre, where you will then spend, and whether that is a free one, or whether that is one where you pay, you will then spend a minimum of five nights before a PCR swab is then taken to determine whether you are suitable for safe exit from that facility.”

In addition to the two new protocols, visitors will still be required to present on arrival a negative COVID-19 PCR test result. The Prime Minister stressed that the test must be taken no more than three days prior to travel to Barbados. 

“All persons desirous of visiting Barbados shall be permitted to board a plane only if they are in possession of a negative PCR test, … no more than three days prior to departure. And I’m making this clear, because in some instances, people have been coming with a test result dated three days before; we want the tests to be done three days before, because that way, we know that you fall within the 72-hour category,” she explained.

Ms. Mottley further explained that requiring the COVID-19 PCR test to be taken 72 hours prior to travel and having a rapid antigen test on arrival would take care of the period of time of additional risk between taking the test and the point of arrival.

She said if a traveller’s rapid antigen test results are positive, they would go immediately to the Harrison Point Isolation Facility for assessment.  

“To be assessed by the doctors to ensure that they can appropriately categorise where you are, and I say so because there is a view that a PCR or an antigen test is just a simple issue. It is not; the doctors have insisted on assessment of patients when they have tested positive, so they may appropriately determine the type of care and the type of facility that is needed,” Prime Minister Mottley noted.

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