St Kitts and Nevis to launch test and trace app in preparation for tourist re-opening

The Federation of St Kitts and Nevis has not had any new cases of COVID-19 for 25 days, according to the data from the World Health Organisation as at August 5, 2020. With only 17 cases and no deaths, the Caribbean island nation is yet to announce a date for reopening its borders. The latest Emergency Powers Regulations imposing restrictions on regular international travel expire on 8th August, 2020.

Meanwhile, the government is running a training programme for the hospitality industry until August 27th. This training is designed to prepare tourism workers for the long-awaited arrival of visitors following strict health and safety protocols, with social distancing ingrained. The hope is that the country's vital tourism industry, which drives upwards of 60% of the nation's GDP, will soon be able to re-open to guests. 

To mitigate the risks of a travel-driven outbreak on the island, the government will also launch a track and trace mobile app. This app will be mandatory for all visitors and use geo-fencing technology to alert users when certain devices enter set boundaries. The system is likely to be less complex than some other contact tracing apps, but its mandatory enforcement is expected to make it effective. It will also provide tourists with health updates, including new arrivals into St Kitts and Nevis.

"The app will facilitate contact tracing and facilitate the management of suspected cases through real-time feedback," Prime Minister Dr the Hon. Timothy Harris first announced last week on the Leadership Matters programme. He continued, "All visitors will be asked to comply with our protocols and to obey our Emergency Powers Regulations," 

"COVID-19 is both a health crisis and an economic crisis," Premier of Nevis Mark Brantley recently commented when announcing a stimulus package for the construction sector. "In Nevis, we are seeking to find ways to restart the local economy"