The Dominican Republic government’s recent decision to perform rapid COVID-19 testing on international visitors who arrive in the country without required proof of a negative test result has “confused” passengers and negatively impacted airlines, said an International Air Transport Association (IATA) official quoted in local news reports.
IATA officials also asked Gustavo Montalvo, president of a high-level Dominican COVID-19 commission, to align the country’s airport COVID-19 protocols with “recommendations issued by the International Civil Aviation Organization,” according to a Dominican Today report.
Specifically, Peter Cerdá, IATA’s regional vice president for the Americas, said the group is concerned with “the way in which the Dominican Republic has handled the decision to implement tests for visitors arriving by air,” which they say “has an adverse effect on [airlines] and consequently has created confusion for passengers.”
Cerdá added testing criteria were “announced just a few hours after their implementation,” and requested that “new measures to be taken by the government be communicated in advance.”
IATA is reportedly awaiting the government’s updated, official airport protocol, including the latest measures, “in order to duly inform passengers and update international travel systems.”
The report also claims “foreign tourist groups” that send a high volume of travelers to the Dominican Republic have expressed opposition to conducting PCR tests on travelers at the country’s airports.
Tests at the arrival destination “[generate] more discomfort and alarm to all those who traveled with the possible infected,” according to the groups, who the report says provided their views to David Collado, the incoming Dominican minister of tourism.
“It is our recommendation that if tests are required, these should always be done before a passenger travels,” said Markus Ruediger, an IATA spokesperson contacted by TravelPulse.
“All changes to arrival rules and regulations need to be announced with sufficient lead time for the airlines to ensure that passengers are in compliance,” added Ruediger, “or even for passengers to prepare for their trip.”
On July 30, less than one month after Dominican borders re-opened to international travelers, the U.S. Embassy in the Dominican Republic announced visitors would need to present proof of a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or nasal swab test result recorded within five days of their arrival to travel freely within the country. Travelers who test positive will be quarantined “as instructed by authorities.”
Dominican Republic travelers can find updated visitor health and safety protocols at drtravelcenter.com.
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