Cape Verde will resume international commercial flights in the second half of August and “Most likely” will require the presentation of advance tests to Covid-19 to visitors and tourists, the Minister of Tourism said this Wednesday to Lusa.
“We are working to, during the month of August and, probably, in the second half of the year, make this gradual opening with other countries”, said, in an interview to the Lusa agency, in the city of Praia, the Minister of Tourism and Transport of Cape Verde , Carlos Santos.
Cape Verde has not received international commercial flights since March 19, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, having initially announced the resumption on June 30, without requiring the presentation of tests prior to the disease for those arriving from abroad. However, With the resurgence of cases, both in Europe and in the islands, the resumption of commercial flights was postponed until August, but still without an exact day, with the minister ensuring that it will not be in the first 15 days of next month.
But, taking into account the various factors that appear almost daily, we want to make this announcement based on the right, correct data, so that we can present the correct dates. Most likely, until August 15, not yet, ”predicted Carlos Santos.
Until then, according to the minister, the Cape Verdean government is preparing a dossier with all the sanitary and legislative measures that are being implemented in the country, and which will be presented to the European Union, the largest market for tourists to the archipelago.
The European Union has defined as one of the criteria to open its doors to third countries to have at least 20 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in two consecutive weeks, but Cape Verde currently has 78 cases, a figure well above European requirements.
Despite the criteria established by the European Union, the minister said that one of the advantages of the archipelago is that some islands have a lower incidence and others no longer have active cases, such as São Vicente or Boa Vista, which may lead to a gradual opening of destinations.
“And there is also a chance that we can get from the European Union to demonstrate that some islands have a higher incidence and others not for that reason and it may be a way out to make a gradual opening, by islands”, maintained the minister.
Carlos Santos said that the dossier will be “soon presented” to the EU and the ambassadors of the countries that are of interest to Cape Verde, for the country to demonstrate that “it is doing its homework” and that it is in line with what are good international practices.
“Therefore, we are doing this work and, very soon, we intend to present this data. I believe that, combined with these measures and their presentation, we will be able to reach a good port, which is the opening of destiny ”, he said.
The minister also said that the government wants to “make sure” that the health of Cape Verdeans and those who visit the country is not in danger, hence the elaboration of a health security plan, which is already in its final phase, and which consists of preparing hotels, airports and restaurants, with measures that concern physical and social distance and hygiene.
“That is why there is a need here to always make adjustments in terms of our decisions so that the decision is correct and safe and that it can give some tranquility to those who are here, but also to those who visit us”, reinforced Carlos Santos .
However, the EU estimates that the full reopening of its external borders to third countries “will take some time”, not expecting this to happen later this year, and advises Member States not to take unilateral decisions.
If that happens, the minister said that he could hinder Cape Verde’s plans, taking into account that the tourism is a “very vulnerable” sector and depends on the decisions of other countries and not just the government.
This type of statements obviously introduces some fear, some fear in what is the potential tourist, the potential visitor. Therefore, today we have to do our homework, which is to prepare the country, the destination with sanitary measures that give tranquility and security to those who will visit us, and to do everything in terms of the promotion that the country receives tourists, ”he said.
If in the first announcement for the reopening of the borders there was no test required at the start, the minister said that this time the “Trend is in this direction” of tests before trips, taking into account that this mandatory position has evolved over the last few months, and is now considered essential to prevent the chain of contagion.
The minister also gave as an example the requirement for virology tests in both directions in the air corridor opened by Portugal and Cape Verde, which starts operating on August 1.
“The Cape Verdean government has evolved in this direction and, through what is advice, the technical opinion of the Ministry of Health, which also reflects what are the advice of the World Health Organization (WHO), is also making its assessment , in the sense of making decisions according to international good practices ”, he said.
Cape Verde has accumulated since March 19, 2,354 cases of Covid-19 and 22 dead.