The government of St. Kitts and Nevis has decided to close the Federation’s borders to all commercial flights until April 7 in order to continue protecting citizens and residents against COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus), Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris said during a press conference held at the Ocean Terrace Inn’s Conference Room on Tuesday, the St. Kitts Nevis Observer reports.
“Effective tomorrow night, March 25, at 11:59 p.m., the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis will be closing its borders to all commercial airline flights until April 7, 2020,” said, adding that importation of food and goods will continue.
“Flights for medical emergencies will be exempted and International Air cargo and cargo by seafaring vessels will be allowed, to maintain connectivity and enable the Federation to import much-needed commodities such as food, fuel, medical supplies and equipment,” said Dr. Harris. “We must acknowledge that we are a small open economy and that we rely on international trade systems for most of our needs.”
Dr. Harris, who is also the Minister of National Security, said that the borders will be properly guarded by the necessary bodies.
“Immigration, Customs, Coast Guard and the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force will be enforcing all border controls. And indeed, we are in discussions with private agencies for the use of drones in part of the surveillance of our coastal waters. In this regard we are in the process of new recruitment in these frontline security areas,” he said, while appealing to nationals who are not able to make it home before the border closes. “The move to close our borders as a precautionary measure means nationals and residents overseas who cannot return by the deadline, will need to remain in place until our border is reopened.”
He added that measures put in place and the government’s “early action in keeping the virus at bay” has provided opportunities for the nation to be better prepared when the pandemic eventually arrives.