Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Turks and Caicos extends 2000-0500 curfew through June 1 to curb the spread of COVID-19. Other restrictions remain in place.

This alert affects Turks and Caicos Islands

This alert began 25 May 2020 14:30 GMT and is scheduled to expire 02 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Significant transport and business disruptions, increased security

Authorities in Turks and Caicos have extended the 2000-0500 curfew through at least June 1. The measure was initially due to expire May 25 and forms part of official efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Personnel involved in the provision of essential goods and services, including electricity, water distribution, communication, fuel services, ferry services, and air services, are exempt from the curfew. Existing measures will be maintained, including the ban on all public meetings, processions, or social functions, as well as religious services or funerals of more than 10 people. All schools and education facilities, as well as casinos, bars, spas, and gyms, will stay closed. In addition to critical services, businesses previously authorized to operate during the reopening phase which began May 4 may continue to operate as before. All businesses and establishments authorized to reopen are required to keep people 1.8 meters (6 feet) away from each other.

These measures are in addition to the closure of all air and sea ports to regional and international passenger transport since March 24. The airports are closed to international commercial passengers; however permanent residents, residence permit holders, and British Overseas Territory Citizens will now be permitted entry. Returning legal residents and citizens will be subject to heightened health screenings and quarantine protocols on arrival. Domestic flights as well as all cargo, courier, and emergency transportation, are exempt. Cruise ships are prohibited from docking through June 30. The movement of people between the islands is restricted, except for essential banking, health, and emergency services, and cargo transportation. All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by authorities in Turks and Caicos are similar to actions taken by other governments globally in recent weeks in response to the spread of COVID-19, a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic March 11. Officials in Turks and Caicos had likely taken the decision to gradually relax internal restrictions from May 4 to allow some economic recovery. Should the number of COVID-19 cases significantly increase, officials may reapply the relaxed restrictions. Likewise, a continued low number of cases may result in a further relaxation of restrictions.

Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

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