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JAMAICA | New COVID pre-testing requirement for some US visitors

  • Written by Calvin G Brown - wiredja.com
  • Published in Tourism
Featured Prime Minister Andrew Holness. Prime Minister Andrew Holness.
KINGSTON,  Jamaica, June 29, 2020 - With the opening of Jamasica's borders  to visitors in an effort to restart the economy, Prime Minister Andrew Holness has bowed to public pressure and has announced new COVID pre-testing requirements for visitors to Jamaica from high-risk US states.

At a press conference at Jamaica House on Monday, Holness said as of July 10, people visiting Jamaica from Florida, New York, Arizona and Texas must upload the results of their COVID tests to the ‘visitjamaica’ website before their landing may be approved.

Holness said the list of high risk states are not limited to those announced, as there are continued assessments as to the states from which Jamaica gets the bulk of its visitors.

Holness said the Government had not moved to impose the requirement for all US visitors due to issues with widespread availability of the polymerise chain reaction (PCR) test, among other considerations.

According to Holness, the test must not be older than seven days before the date of travel.

Visitors must upload their test results to the Visit Jamaica portal.

The prime minister said, while approval for entry is subject to pretesting, negative results do not mean automatic approval as permission to enter is still risk-based.

“Persons registering to visit Jamaica coming from these area, as of July 1, will be required to upload a valid PCR test [result], which must [not have] been more than seven days old from the expected date of their arrival... As of July 10, persons visiting Jamaica [non-residents] from the declared high-risk areas will be required to present their PCR test,” he stated.

He notes that, Jamaica has to implement the measure as it prepares to welcome more people to the island.

He says the country is now expecting 22 flights a day with 1,680 passengers.

Other people returning to the island will be screened at the airport.

They will also be expected to complete testing here and to remain at home until the results are made available.

Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton said the new pre-testing requirement will ease the pressure on the local staff.

In the meantime, chief medical officer Dr Jaquiline Bisasor McKenzie has conceded that there is a backlog in testing samples.

She said this is because of “challenges” in procuring supplies for the COBAS machine that has the capacity to process samples much faster than the other machines in the system.

In the meantime, the country has recorded 82 cases of COVID-19 for the entire month of June, which the Government says is below its projections and which signifies the success of the controlled re-entry programmes to date.

A total of 698 cases of the disease have been recorded here since the outbreak began, the most recent two being recorded today.

The infection number for June represents a rate of 0.7 per cent, "well below what has been projected, which was 2.5 per cent" according to Prime Minister Andrew Holness who is currently speaking at a virtual press conference hosted from his office.

Holness said the 2.5 per cent infection rate would have brought the total number of cases to 851.

"We can declare today that our controlled re-entry programme from June 1-15 and our controlled entry programme from June 15-June 30 has so far been a success," Prime Minister Andrew Holness has said.

"It means we have managed to bring in Jamaicans and visitors safely during the month of June," he adds.

Holness warns however, that the lower than expected numbers do not mean "we're out of the woods or that we should become complacent" and urged the observing of physical distancing and hygiene protocols.

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Last modified onTuesday, 30 June 2020 08:44
  • Countries: Jamaica