A pair of Caribbean destinations are leading the way with aggressive measures to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.
That includes the French Caribbean department of Guadeloupe and the British Overseas Territory of the Cayman Islands.
In what is the most aggressive move by any Caribbean destination so far, Guadeloupe has suspended all international flights for the next 30 days.
All international passenger flights to the destination’s capital of Pointe-a-Pitre will be suspended starting March 18.
The move is in compliance with the broader European Union plan to close down its borders to stem the spread of the virus.
In a statement, the Guadeloupe Islands Tourist Board said United States citizens currently in the archipelago that had arrived on either American Airlines, JetBlue or Air France would be flown back.
Those three airlines have been granted a grace period for return flights past March 18 “to get everyone home.”
Beginning Mach 22, Guadeloupe will be suspending all passenger flights connecting the territory with mainland France.
Officials said there were currently 18 cases of the novel coronavirus, now called COVID-19 in Guadeloupe.
Three of those people have been hospitalized.
The Cayman Islands also announced a strong move this week, with the temporary closure of two of its airports: Owen Roberts International Airport in Grand Cayman and Charles Kirkconnell International Airport in Cayman Brac.
The two airports will be closed for a period of three weeks, from March 22 running through April 12..
“As a government we recognize that this difficult decision will be a disruption throughout our economy however the lives of our people in the Cayman Islands are our first and foremost concern. I would like to thank our industry partners who have collaborated with us to ensure a smooth transition through this challenging time,” stated Deputy Premier and Minister for Tourism Moses Kirkconnell. “We are confident that the long-term benefits of this border control measure will help us to prevent wider impact throughout our country.”
Several other Caribbean destinations have been working hard to stop the disease, with a relatively small number of cases across the region.
Jamaica recently imposed a mandatory 14-week quarantine for travelers visiting from countries where there is local spread of the virus.
St Maarten, for its part, is in the midst of a two-week restriction on visitors from a host of international destinations.
The BVI just announced a restriction on its ports of entry, and other countries like St Kitts and Nevis have imposed quarantines for recent travelers from most countries affected by the virus.