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Caribbean not yet badly hit by virus

Regional 13 Mar, 2020 Follow News

Jamaica’s Carnival will go ahead despite the coronavirus scare

While Asia and Europe continue to see significant drops in tourist arrivals due to the ongoing coronavirus scare, many travel experts are reporting that the Caribbean is relatively unscathed.

Tourists are still generally travelling to the Caribbean and Mexico as there are only a few cases reported in the region. Turks and Caicos, Anguilla and St Barths are particularly popular with Americans as well as many of the hot spots in the region including Jamaica, Barbados and Antigua.

Joey Levy, an advisor with EMBARK Beyond, in New York City, said: “We have seen a bit of a spike in Caribbean bookings from clients who are concerned about traveling to Asia and Europe. Hotels are taking proper precautions and have an abundance of hand sanitizer on hand.

“I am pleased to see this as many Caribbean properties have been struggling over the last few seasons due to a combination of Zika fears and natural disasters such as hurricanes. The good news is that people are still traveling.”

For those worried about being quarantined at a foreign hotel, Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s tourism minister, told Travel Market Report there are policies set in place that call for any sick guest to be immediately removed and isolated from the property without the rest of the guests being quarantined.

“When someone wants to understand the situation, they need to understand the science and the facts,” said Bartlett. “We are pursuing knowledge from all over the world. We are understanding more and more about the phenomenon and how it needs to be treated. We developed a strategy and a protocol on how to engage our own population as well as visitors coming to our shores.”

Jamaica reported its first confirmed case of COVID-19 on Tuesday. The Jamaican Carnival is approaching over the Easter period but there are no plans to cancel it. Bacchanal Jamaica, Xaymaca International and Xodus Carnival, organisers assured masqueraders that Mas will still go on despite the COVID-19 threat.

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