This is the word from prime minister Andrew Holness at a digital press conference this evening at Jamaica House. However, this was not before he obliquely lashed the opposition PNP whose consistent representation for the government to bring the seafarers home he described as third party trouble making.
The prime minister said the Ministry of Health will create a sterile area around the port to conduct testing for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
He said the crew members will be allowed to disembark the vessel in batches of 200 within a 48 to 72-hour period to allow time for results to be made available.
After testing, the individuals will be housed at the Grand Bahia Principe Hotel in Runaway Bay, St Ann, where the Government has secured an additional 400 rooms, Holness said.
He further informed that those who test positive for the virus will be taken to a State quarantine facility, while the crew members with negative results will be allowed to self-quarantine at home for 14 days from the day they disembark the vessel.
For home quarantine, individuals will be required to consent to have their location geofenced via the JamCOVID19 website and to do video check in multiple times daily.
The Adventure of the Seas vessel transporting the Jamaicans is currently located off the coast of Haiti.
Holness said the Jamaicans on this ship represents the largest number of Jamaicans to be repatriated within the pandemic. He said over 9,000 other Jamaicans have applied via the JamCOVID19 platform to return home.
Thousands of Jamaicans became stranded overseas when Holness closed the country's air and sea ports on March 24 amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Work-from-home orders expire at the end of May.
In the meantime, Holness says the Government intends to allow people to return to work when the current work-from-home orders expire at the end of May.
This is with the exception of the vulnerable population, which includes people aged 65 and over and those with comorbidities.
The work-from-home measure was put in place to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Holness said all the normal infection prevention and safety protocols, which include social distancing and hand sanitisation, would need to be in place for the June 1 resumption.
He also said the various protocols for factories, workplaces, banking halls, etc are being developed in conjunction with the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica.
CXC Examinations to Begin on July 27
In the meantime, the CXC examinations will start on July 27 for Jamaican students. Minister of Education Karl Samuda who was speaking today’s press conference at Jamaica House, said the CXC exams include CSEC (Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate) and CAPE (Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations).
“We will write the CXC exams starting on Monday July 27, 2020. Starting on the 27th, it takes about a couple of weeks to complete the exams …but the process will start.
“Social distancing can be accommodated quite easily as all schools are closed, making it quite convenient for those sitting the exams.
“We will now go about the business of making the logistical arrangements so that no child taking these exams beyond the challenges they have already encountered will be compromised,” the education minister said.
“We are going forward with these exams knowing that we are not entirely ready for the exams in certain schools …other schools are very ready.
“We will have two stages of the exams, that is, the internet and one that is paper based.
“We will do our best to facilitate our students to write these exams and to maximise their potential going forward.
“It is a critical turning point in our education system…this setback will only strengthen the process to make us more conscious of what is to be done and how quickly we have to get it done,” Samuda said.
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