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JAMAICA | Gov't needs to rethink decision not to pre-test arriving visitors

  • Written by Calvin G Brown - wiredja.com
  • Published in Tourism
Featured People’s National Party Shadow Minister for Healkth Dr. Morais Guy People’s National Party Shadow Minister for Healkth Dr. Morais Guy
KINGSTON, JAMAICA, June 26, 2020: Shadow Minister of Health, Dr. Morais Guy, is calling on the government to urgently rethink the decision, not to require the pretesting of persons arriving on the island, as within the past 12 days the country has seen a big jump in the number of positive cases of the coronavirus, mainly from among persons coming into the country. 

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased by 67 over the last 12 day, compared to 25 cases over the previous twelve days.

Dr. Guy said the increase coincides with the reopening of the country’s borders to visitors as well as the continuing controlled re-entry programme, and this upward trend is expected to continue without pretesting travelers before arrival. He said Jamaica faces the possibility of visitors turning up at our health facilities to access the limited resources that are available in the already strained health sector.

“If we don’t pretest our visitors, we put our very fragile health sector at further risk as we could easily be placed in a position where we will have to be treating local and imported cases at the same time,” Dr. Guy said.

The Shadow Minister said 60 of the 67 new COVID-19 cases are related to persons coming into the country, and over the past two days there were five more cases related to newly arrived persons. This information points to the obvious; our increases are linked to the reopening of the country.

“The PNP agrees that the economy cannot remain closed and must be reopened. We agree that Tourism is a vital foreign exchange earner to our economy. The government needs to revisit the protocols related to visitors and other persons coming into the country; they must do what is right to protect the citizens of Jamaica. That is what is required,” Dr. Guy said.

He said the PNP has advocated for the pretesting of persons coming into the country and recommended that on arrival at the airports there must be adequate screening as well as additional testing for all persons.

“Pretesting would immediately screen out those who are positive. It would be better for our tourism product as visitors would be assured that all persons entering the country would be COVID negative. It would give assurance and greater impetus to our tourism workers that they would not be interacting with possible COVID carriers,” the Shadow Minister argues.

Dr. Guy is also appealing to recently returned Jamaicans to adhere to the Coronavirus protocols as new has been emerging that some persons have been breaching the quarantine rules, and this is putting entire communities at risk.

‘We encourage all Jamaicans to abide by the rules.  The majority of Jamaicans have worked hard to flatten the curve, by ignoring the rules we face the possibility of eroding the gain made,” Dr. Guy said.

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  • Countries: Jamaica