Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, in making the announcement at a press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister on Thursday, said that the situation will be monitored to see if further extension is required.
“This is a precautionary measure to protect persons from spreading the virus, by limiting nationals having to gather to access services in person and, of course, the transit to our relevant missions,” she noted.
She said that the Ministry has mandated all High Commissions, Embassies and Consulates to assess the risk posed by the spread of the virus in their respective locations and to make appropriate adjustments to their operations.
“This should include not only the provision of appropriate sanitary products at the locations but the adjustment of opening hours, implementation of remote working arrangements and any other appropriate safety measures,” she noted.
The Embassy of Jamaica in Washington, in adjusting its working hours, has sent out an advisory to members of the Diaspora, as regards the new arrangements.
The following is the text of the communication from the Embassy of Jamaica to members of the Jamaican Diaspora in the United States:
Dear Community Members,
In light of the evolving COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic and the need to introduce appropriate precautionary measures to protect persons from the spread of the virus, by virtue of the congregation of a large number of persons in a small space, please be advised as follows:
1. The Embassy of Jamaica in Washington D.C. has adjusted its working hours to 10am to 4pm as at Thursday, 12th March 2020. The Consular Section (passport, citizenship, visa and other services) hours will be from 10am to 1pm.
2. As of Monday 16th March 2020, the consular section of the Embassy will be closed to the public for one week, i.e. from 16th – 20th March 2020. During that period, the situation will be further assessed to determine any further adjustments that may become desirable.
Persons applying for the renewal of Jamaican passports are, therefore, encouraged to utilize the online application system available at www.pica.gov.jm. All persons who received an adult passport after September 2001 can renew their passport online, provided that the passport has expired or will expire in less than one (1) year’s time.
Persons who are not eligible to apply online, that is minors, persons who wish to have a name change in the passport, and persons who are replacing lost passports, may mail applications to the Embassy at 1520 New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Washington DC, 20036. Please see requirements outlined on our website at www.embassyofjamaica.org.
As we continue to monitor events associated with COVID-19, all are encouraged to note the official advisories from the relevant authorities and to limit travel overseas to emergencies only.
n this regard, please note that the Government of Jamaica has instituted travel restrictions for persons travelling to Jamaica from the following countries:
People’s Republic of China
For more updates on COVID-19 in Jamaica please visit https://www.moh.gov.jm/.
For updates on COVID-19 in the USA, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/index.html.
The health and safety of our country and community are our top priorities. Please continue to take all necessary precautions including avoiding large public gatherings and non-essential social events. We will continue to monitor the situation closely for any developments and will provide updates on our social media platforms as the situation warrants.
Foreign Affairs Minister, Senator Johnson Smith, has advised, “we are recommending the use of online passport and mail-in applications and other services, as well as telephone enquiries where appropriate”.
Other adjustments include staggering the working hours for members of staff who use public transportation in areas where there has been an outbreak.
“This is intended to ensure that they don’t have to be confined at close quarters during the rush hour given the risks at play,” Senator Johnson Smith noted.
In the meantime, the Minister indicated that all overseas staff have been advised that no approvals will be granted for non-essential travel until further notice in keeping with the travel restriction policy for government workers.
- Countries: Jamaica
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