JAMAICA | PNP Opposed to removing COVID-19 test requirements for entry to Jamaica

JAMAICA | PNP Opposed to removing COVID-19 test requirements for entry to Jamaica

Kingston, Jamaica, April 14, 2022: Shadow Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Morais Guy, M.P., says the People’s National Party (PNP) is opposed to removing the COVID-19 pre-test requirement for travelers entering Jamaica. 

In a media release today, Dr. Guy said the Opposition would also not support the relaxation of the indoor mask-wearing requirement, which the government does not intend to extend beyond its next expiry date of April 15, 2022.

Dr Guy said it is unwise for the government to adopt such a stance as there is a continued risk from the COVID-19 Omicron sub-variant BA2, which persists in some jurisdictions from where Jamaica gets the majority of its visitors. He said, “several countries are still facing an Omicron wave and removing the pre-test requirement for entry into Jamaica is ill-advised and reckless.”

He said there is an argument of cost for the pre-test, but Jamaica only requires the inexpensive Antigen Test to satisfy the protocol requirement. Therefore, this claim should not be used to justify removing the pre-test protocol for entering Jamaica.

The Opposition Spokesman said the government should reconsider its current approach to mask-wearing and the pre-test requirement for travel. Furthermore, with only 24% of the population vaccinated, the new policy would directly threaten our seniors, who are predisposed to complications from COVID-19 due to the high likelihood of comorbidities.

Dr Guy said instead of relaxing the requirements, the government should mandate that mask-wearing be maintained and enforced for indoor spaces, such as schools, businesses, places of worship and entertainment.

The Shadow Minister reminded the government that the World Health Organization (WHO) has maintained that the pandemic is not over. 

With the ever-increasing numbers of variants being discovered, he said mask-wearing was a simple public health measure to be maintained.

Public Health specialist Dr. Winston Davidson has questioned  government's decision to end the requirement for people to test negative for COVID-19 before travelling to Jamaica.Public Health specialist Dr. Winston Davidson has questioned government's decision to end the requirement for people to test negative for COVID-19 before travelling to Jamaica.In the meantime Public Health Specialist Dr. Winston Davidson says he is flabbergasted the government's decision to end the requirement for people to test negative for COVID-19 before travelling to Jamaica amid a surge of the highly transmissible Omicron BA.2 variant in several countries.

Professor Davidson says the testing requirement for travellers is important for preventing persons infected with the virus arriving in Jamaica.

He believes the Jamaican population will now be exposed to the new COVID-19 strains affecting other countries. He pointed out that "The WHO warns us that we must be vigilant with the measures that we take because there are a number of strains.

"For example, in Southeast Asia, in China, we have some strains that are really, really damaging.

"And so therefore, you are taking down the barriers that you need to put in place to ensure that you are not exposed and that it doesn't really infect the country badly again," Professor Davidson argued.

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