The beautiful beaches of the Dominican Republic are a tempting prospect as cold autumn weather descends on the UK.
But is it possible to visit given the ongoing threat of Covid-19? We break down what you need to know.
Coronavirus in the Dominican Republic
The Caribbean nation, which has a population of around 10 million, had seen 119,000 Covid-19 cases and 2,183 deaths as of October 15th.
Its Covid caseload is continuing to rise, with the rate of new daily cases (charted below) in the hundreds through the first two weeks of October.
Is it possible to visit the Dominican Republic?
The Dominican Republic has reopened its land, sea and air borders to all travel, so it’s possible to visit for a holiday. Indeed, the government is encouraging people to visit, and the president has stated that “the same risks of contagion [tourists] have in their country of origin would also exist here.”
On arrival you will need to fill out a form declaring that you have no Covid-19 symptoms, and providing your contact details.
It’s no longer necessary to take a Covid-19 test and obtain a ‘safe to fly’ certificate ahead of travel, as with some Caribbean nations.
Instead, the Dominican authorities are administering rapid diagnostic tests to randomly-selected passengers on arrival (children under five are exempt). These are administered via breathalyser.
Any passengers showing Covid-19 symptoms will be tested, although you should not be travelling anywhere in this case. The main symptoms listed by the NHS are a high temperature, a new or continuous cough, and a loss or change to your senses of taste and smell.
If you test positive for the virus on arrival, you will be placed into mandatory quarantine. You may therefore still want to take a test before you travel for peace of mind.
If you test negative, or are not tested, you’re able to enter the country without any quarantine restrictions.
British citizens do not need a visa to enter the Dominican Republic.
Do I need to self-isolate when I get back to the UK?
Yes. The Dominican Republic is not currently on the UK’s ‘travel corridor’ list, meaning you would need to self-isolate for 14 days at home when you return. You are not allowed to leave your house to work, shop or exercise during this period.
Can I get travel insurance for the Dominican Republic?
The UK Foreign Office currently advises against travel to the Dominican Republic. That means that existing or new travel insurance policies you buy may have an exclusion clause for travel to the country.
However, in September the Dominican Republic launched the “Plan for the Responsible Recovery of Tourism.”
This $28 million programme provides free emergency medical coverage for all tourists (under the age of 85) who holiday in the country until December 31st 2020.
This covered all medical emergencies, both Covid and non-Covid related, excluding pre-existing conditions and negligent acts. Quarantine lodging, airfares, doctor consultations, and medical transfers are included, among other potential expenses.
Tourists receive an insurance certificate at check-in, including contact information for a bilingual call center handling claims and medical assistance requests.
Luis Abinader, president of the Dominican Republic, said:
“This is a novelty we offer to the entire international tourism sector … While maintaining that the delivery of medical insurance would ensure that if [the tourist] has any contagion or becomes hospitalised, which is a minimal possibility, the Dominican government will pay both the medical costs and transfer to their country of origin.”
Bear in mind that the insurance only covers medical, and not other travel-related expenses.
Can I get to the Dominican Republic?
British Airways is flying direct from the UK to the Dominican Republic, and it’s also possible to fly via Paris or Amsterdam with Air France or KLM.
Are you considering a trip to the Caribbean, or do you have questions about travel? Let us know in the comments.