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Home Affairs Minister, Edmund Hinkson.

Measures in place to ensure authenticity: Hinkson

Home Affairs Minister, Edmund Hinkson, says measures have been put in place locally to ensure the COVID-19 test result submitted by travellers to Barbados via their online ED card is authentic.

He further stated Barbados’ Immigration Department reserves the right to check the authenticity of the laboratory where the test was taken, still question individuals and based on their responses, state that they “should still be tested here”.

“We are doing our best to ensure that the possibility of a dubious or fake result is minimised by putting the systems in place and that is why of course, we want the test result at least 24 hours before you come, between 24 and 72 hours, but we also have in place the reservation to ask anyone for a test when they come here, regardless of what they show us in terms of negativity of a COVID-19 result.”

Hinkson spoke on the sidelines of Friday’s presentation at the Gordon Greenidge Primary School.

On Sunday, July 12, Barbados will reopen to commercial flights. The first flight set to arrive will be coming from Toronto, Canada.

Hinkson underscored it is critical that individuals visit and complete digitally the online embarkation and disembarkation (ED) card. He said this must be done 72 hours before planned travel to the country.

“The card is similar, but not fully in conjunction with the previous physical card that you used to fill out. Obviously, you put in your name, your date of birth, your contact details, your intended address in Barbados and of course, you will put in health information as is demanded by the times we are in.”

He added the bio-page of a person’s passport as well as the result of their COVID-19 test must also be submitted in the online card. He also said individuals should walk with their test results and the two receipts they will receive after the necessary information has been submitted online.

“Those receipts will be sent to your mobile phone or you can print them out … and walk with them as well. So you will show your mobile phone to the authorities, Immigration and Customs, when you arrive and the relevant information would be there…”

Hinkson stated individuals who were unable to complete the online ED card will complete it as is customary at the kiosks at the airport. They, however will have to have their COVID-19 test conducted upon arrival.

“There are 48 kiosks at the airport. We still have the possible utilisation of some in case an individual does not use the online platform to book, but we are limiting their use because clearly that could be a possible source of transmission [by] touching a surface. We know that, so we are encouraging everyone to book online and obviously those who may have to use a kiosk, the drawers will be cleaned down after every use. We are ensuring that. The airport has that platform and facility in place.”

The Home Affairs Minister assured, “There is nothing to fear, Barbadians, from us essentially resuming commercial flights. We never closed down our borders, but we are ensuring that all top standard protocols are in place and we are doing it with efficiency and effectiveness, because that is what we are about and it has taken a combined effort of Govern-ment to bring us to this platform where we now have the convenience of an online ED form.” (MG)

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