Dominican Republic to require anti-virus vaccination in enclosed spaces and public transportation

The Dominican Republic will require its population over 12 years of age to have a vaccination card “with at least two doses” against covid-19 in order to enter a series of establishments in closed spaces and use public transport, the Ministry of Health informed on Friday.

The vaccination card must be presented “to attend in person to workplaces with enclosed spaces (…), study centers of all levels”, public and private, and places such as restaurants, bars and casinos, the ministry said in a resolution.

The document, disseminated in social networks, details that the card, together with the identity document, will also be requested at the moment of “using any means of public transportation”.

The measure, which also includes businesses such as stores, discotheques and shopping centers, will come into force as of October 18, according to the ministry.

The resolution notes that the vaccination card must have “at least two doses of the vaccine against COVID-19”, but does not specify whether it applies to tourists or foreigners entering the island, where tourism is a core economic activity.

In case people are not inoculated with the required number of doses “they must present a recurrent PCR test in original, whose result has been negative, carried out a maximum of 7 days before”, states the text.

In “exceptional” situations, the ministry will grant a “special permit”.

With a population of 10.5 million, the Dominican Republic has vaccinated 6,069,351 people (57.8% of the population) with a first dose, 4,907,894 (46.7%) with two doses, and 942,398 (8.9%) with a third booster dose, according to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

To date, the country has confirmed 364,252 cases of covid-19, with 4,065 deaths, according to official figures.

– Masks and distancing
The use of masks remains mandatory, as well as physical distancing, the resolution added.

Also, the document details, “people may only be received up to 75% of the total capacity of the establishments for public use”.

The decision was taken two days after the government ordered the end on October 11 of the state of emergency and the curfew, in force for more than a year to contain the pandemic of the new coronavirus.

Failure to comply with the measure can result in fines ranging from the closure of establishments to individual fines of up to ten minimum wages, equivalent to more than US$2,000, according to the document.

The island has bought around 34 million doses: 14 million from Sinovac, 10 million from AstraZeneca and 10 million from Pfizer, according to official figures.

Since last June, the inoculation of minors between 12 and 17 years of age with the U.S. Pfizer vaccine began.

In the midst of the vaccination campaign, which will include children from 5 to 11 years old, the island has recovered 80% of the tourism it received before the pandemic.

Famous for its beaches and cultural richness, the Dominican Republic received some 6.4 million tourists in 2019, while in 2020, a year in which hotels, bars and restaurants reduced their activity due to pandemic restrictions, only some 2.4 visitors were registered, a drop of 62.7%, according to the Central Bank.

Tourism activity represented revenues of more than US$58 billion for the country between 2010 and 2019, according to the bank.

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