Thu | Jul 9, 2020

Holness announces COVID screening for all incoming travellers this month

Published:Wednesday | June 3, 2020 | 12:00 AM
Holness: ... Screening is not optional.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced that there will be mandatory COVID screening for all passengers arriving in Jamaica this month. 

During the period June 1 to 14, arriving Jamaicans will go through a two-element screening process and when the borders open to other travellers from June 15, they too will be screened.

"Screening is not optional," Holness told the Parliament on Tuesday night, noting that it will have two elements.

The first element is the temperature check and the observation for symptoms.

"That is supposed to be done on the airlines by some of the airlines coming in," the prime minister said.

He referred to the second element as the risk-based screening, which includes the interrogation of passengers about their travel history.

"It is not a process where we are just allowing people to go… these are the control measures that have been in place not just for COVID but for almost all other diseases that we have faced," Holness said.

He said based on the risk profile, incoming nationals may to be required to be quarantined in a state facility.

However, Holness said all nationals entering Jamaica up to June 14 will be tested by providing a sample through a nasal swab.

The prime minister said nationals assessed at low-risk will be ordered to stay at home for 14 days, but not quarantined.

Others may be quarantined or isolated.

According to Holness, to date, 2,300 Jamaicans have entered the island through the Government's controlled re-entry programme, at a cost of approximately $1 billion.

He also noted that of the 2,300 Jamaicans who have returned home, about 50 have tested positive for the coronavirus.

What’s the protocol for business travellers?

The Prime Minister has announced that business travellers who are spending 14 days or fewer in Jamaica will be tested.

"They will be asked to go to the hotel or the home that they are going to and they must quarantine for 24 hours or until they get back their results. There are many people who have business here, they need to come and inspect; look what is happening and just go back, it would be unreasonable to ask somebody here to come and spend 14 days in quarantine in terms of a business perspective," Holness explained.

JamCOVID, Holness said, will be the portal, nationals will use to be allowed entry into the island.

What’s the protocol for tourists?

According to the Prime Minister, tourists, registered on the Visit Jamaica platform who are staying at a hotel or resort, may be tested based on the findings during screening.

"If testing is recommended, they may be required to quarantine at their destination until the results are available," the prime minister said.

What is a travel bubble?

Prime Minister Andrew has announced the following countries as a being in a travel bubble.

He explained that passengers coming from these countries would not be subjected to mandatory testing due to these countries' management of the COVID-19 crisis:

Antigua and Barbuda
Cayman Islands
St Lucia
St Kitts and Nevis
St Vincent and the Grenadines
Trinidad and Tobago
Turks and Caicos Islands

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