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CDC Backpedals on TCI Covid-19 Rating: TCI now at level 1

Updated: Jun 8, 2021

(L-R) E. Jay Saunders, Minister of Health; Rochelle Walensky, Director of CDC

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has revised the Turks and Caicos Islands' COVID-19 status which is a stunning reversal from their previous update.

Last week, the CDC branded the Turks and Caicos Islands at a level 3 risk assessment - just one level away from their highest level which is level 4. Level 4 risk assessment means that the disease is rampant in that jurisdiction.

At a news conference last week, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Hon. E. Jay Saunders appeared visibly upset by the level 3 branding of the Turks and Caicos Islands. He believed that such assignment was in error and promised that he would reach out to that entity for review.

Late Monday afternoon, June 7 the CDC backpedalled on its previous branding, thereby giving the Turks and Caicos a level 1 risk assessment which means that the country is almost free of Covid or otherwise has a very low risk level.

Acting Premier and minister of health Hon. E. Jay Saunders was elated at the news. He was happy that the CDC was able to review their latest ranking and return with a more favourable view for the Turks and Caicos.

"I’m happy that the CDC saw fit to review the rating that they assigned to the Turks and Caicos and remove us from level three down to level one," Saunders told NewslineTCI.

He said the latest ranking mirrors TCI's fight to get COVID down to a minimal level, which he says his government has already achieved.

"I think that’s reflective of the hard work of the Ministry of Health and the overall health sector of the Turks and Caicos Islands that everyone is doing their part to get the numbers down. The government along with everyone else who took it upon themselves to get vaccinated are doing a fantastic job to get the full vaccination rate up above 50 percent," Saunders pointed out.

He says persons who have already gotten their first dose are above 60 percent. He's hopeful that the latest number would translate into greater tourist arrival numbers.

"We get the positivity rate down to one percent so we’re doing very well and I’m happy that the CDC saw that and they were able to take the information on. So I’m hoping that now that we’re down to level one, more tourists will be more comfortable coming to the Turks and Caicos and then it would be a boost for our economy. Overall it’s a fantastic job from the team and I’d like to thank the CDC for changing the rating."


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