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Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, speaks in the House of Representatives on June 2.

All passengers arriving in Jamaica will be screened as borders re-open

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, speaks in the House of Representatives on June 2.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness says all passengers arriving in Jamaica up to June 30, will undergo mandatory screening for the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Jamaica’s borders were opened to nationals on June 1 and will be open for non-nationals beginning June 14.

Speaking in the House of Representatives on June 2, he also informed that during the period June 1 to 14, all persons arriving in Jamaica will go through a screening process that has two elements to it.

“The first is the temperature check and the observation for symptoms. That is supposed to be done on the aircraft by some of the airlines coming in,” Holness said.

“There is another element of the screening, which is the risk-based assessment…where are you coming from, and what is your country of origin. 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,” he added.

“There are many people who have business here; they need to come and inspect and look at what is happening and just go back.”

– Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness

The prime minister said based on the risk profile, the public health officer may require the returning national to be quarantined in a State facility or at home.

“If based on your assessment, you pose a low risk, meaning your temperature was good and the other factors you have to consider were good, you are released to your home, where you will be under the stay-at-home order [for 14 days],” he advised.

Holness, however, said that all nationals entering Jamaica between June 1 and 14 will be tested, by providing a sample through a nasal swab.

Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness

“They will go through a sensitisation session, which will inform them about the protocols that they must observe… then they may proceed to their homes where they will be under the stay-a-home orders. If results come back positive… depending on your circumstances… if we can’t isolate you at home, then we have to isolate you [in a government facility],” he informed.

Holness said based on a risk assessment of the countries from which persons are seeking to enter Jamaica and their travel routes “we have evaluated specific criteria, which include similar management and profile results for the epidemic regarding spread, death rate, infection prevention and control measures, contact tracing protocols and other criteria. Such countries would constitute a ‘travel bubble’ that would be governed by modified protocols that would speed up the re-entry process”.

The countries within the ‘travel bubble’ include Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Cayman Islands, Grenada, St Lucia, St Kitts-Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Monserrat and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Holness said this will facilitate about 1,000 Jamaicans within the Caribbean region who have registered on the JamCOVID website and are seeking re-entry.

“These persons will be subject to the same health-risk screening, which will determine testing requirements or quarantine requirements. If the risk screening confirms a low-risk status, then they will be released to their homes under the stay-at-home orders,” he said.

Meanwhile, during the period June 15 to 30, non-nationals will be allowed to enter Jamaica.

The prime minister said business travellers who are spending 14 days or less in Jamaica will be subject to screening and testing.

“They will be asked to go to the hotel or the home they are going 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 and look at what is happening and just go back.

It would be unreasonable to ask somebody to come and spend 14 days in quarantine in terms of a business perspective,” he explained.

Holness said tourists who are registered on the Visit Jamaica platform that are staying at a hotel or resort, will be subject to the same health and risk screening process.

“Based on that assessment, they may be tested as recommended by the public health team. If testing is recommended, then they will be required to quarantine at their destination until the results are available,” he said.