Prime Minister Andrew of Jamaica Holness addressing concerns about coronavirus during a recent press conference. (Photo: JIS)

What Jamaica’s UK travel restriction means

Prime Minister Andrew of Jamaica Holness addressing concerns about coronavirus during a recent press conference. (Photo: JIS)

The Government of Jamaica placed a travel restriction on the United Kingdom, effective today, March 14.

The measure curbs travel of people to Jamaica from the United Kingdom, where most of the country’s cases were imported, with few exceptions.

The move was announced at a media briefing last evening at Jamaica House when Prime Minister Andrew Holness told the nation that the island has been declared as a “disaster area” under the Disaster Risk Management Act.

Based on the UK travel restriction, only citizens and people with residency or long-stay arrangement or marriage exemptions will be allowed in the country, said the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ permanent secretary, Dunstan Bryan, at the briefing.

The containment measure comes as the country records eight confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus this week alone. Two of those individuals were infected by the first confirmed case which indicates community spread. As a result, the communities of Seven Miles and Eight Miles in Bull Bay, St Andrew, where ‘patient zero’ resides, have been placed under quarantine.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness (right) at a press briefing, on Friday (March 13), at the Office of the Prime Minister in Kingston. Looking on are Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton and Chief Medical Officer Dr Jacquiline Bisasor McKenzie.

Bryan said the restrictions are like those already in place by Jamaica on several of the countries most severely affected by the coronavirus. These include China, Italy, Iran, Singapore and South Korea

Persons who are landed, and exhibit symptoms of the virus, will be quarantined in a designated facility or at home for 14 days, Bryan said.

Persons who arrive in the country before these travel restrictions were imposed are required to self-identity. These persons are asked to contact 1-888-ONE -LOVE, or email COVID-19@MOH@gov.jm.

Under the disaster area declaration, the government is able to implement strong measure, like the quarantine, to contain the virus.

Contact tracing efforts by health authorities revealed that 30 people were found to have had direct or close contact with the Bull Bay patient, and of that number eight were found to be symptomatic.