Jamaica's Health Minister, Dr Christopher Tufton, announces the new travel restrictions for Jamaica

Jamaica has announced new measures as the country prepares for the possibility of an outbreak of COVID-19.

The country has activated quarantine, screening and other anti-virus countermeasures since the outbreak worsened in January, inclusive of four addition quarantine facilities, in anticipation of any developments.

Jamaican authorities report that as at Feb 26, 141 persons arrived in Jamaica who had been in China 14 days prior: five persons have been quarantined in Government facilities; five are in home quarantine; and two persons are in isolation, for whom test results are still outstanding.

Jamaica’s health minister meets with a few health workers, as the country ramps up measures in anticipation of a COVID-19 outbreak

Jamaica’s Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton, has advised that additional countries have been incorporated into the country’s existing travel restrictions, because of the fact that the majority of cases in those countries have been due to in-country transmission.

The decision was made, based on the latest risk assessment carried out by the World Health Organization (WHO)—Situation Situation Report 37 on the COVID-19—dated February 26, 2020.

The restricted countries are as follows:

  • Italy (322 cases, 11 deaths); 
  • South Korea/Republic of Korea  (1,261 cases, 12 deaths);
  • Singapore (91 cases, no deaths); and
  • Iran (95 cases; 15 deaths).

The Jamaican authorities add that they are reviewing the situation in Japan, where there are 164 cases and one death, and an advisory on Japan will follow shortly.

The MSC Meraviglia was denied entry to Jamaica because of COVID-19 risk.

In addition, the Jamaican authorities also gave an update on the cruise line—with more than 4,500 passengers and more than 1,600 crew members—which was denied access to the port of call in Ocho Rios, St. Ann, on Tuesday 25 February 2020.

They note that the vessel arrived at approximately 8:30 a.m. and, upon inspection by Port Health Officials, it was discovered that a crew member had been put in isolation on board. The crew member had a cough, fever and associated muscle pains, together with a travel history to a country of interest relating to COVID-19.

The decision to deny entry was in accordance with the country’s Quarantine Act of 1951. 

Jamaica’s National Coordinating Committee, which was set up to handle the COVID-19 issue, will host its first meeting early in March and will examine all of the preparedness functions of the entire Government apparatus.

The committee is co-chaired by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Local Government, and is comprised of a wide cross section of stakeholders, including members of industry, the public sector and civil society.

LATEST ADDITIONS TO JAMAICA’S TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS

  1. All Jamaicans who have visited Italy, South Korea, Iran, and Singapore in the last 14 days will have landing privileges in accordance with the law but will be subject to a health assessment and quarantine;
  2. Persons who have visited Italy, South Korea, Iran and Singapore in the last 14 days and who do not have permanent residency or marriage exemption in Jamaica will not be granted landing privileges at any of the country’s ports of entry;
  3. Non-Jamaicans who have permanent residence and marriage exemptions who are landed and who had visited Italy, South Korea, Iran, and Singapore in the last 14 days will be subject to a health assessment and quarantine;
  4. Persons who have visited Italy, South Korea, Iran and Singapore and have been granted landing privileges and classified by the Ministry of Health and Wellness as high risk will be quarantined in Government facilities; and those who are assessed by the Ministry of Health and Wellness as low-risk will be quarantined at home under the supervision of the Parish Health Department; and
  5. Individuals returning from Italy, South Korea, Iran and Singapore who have been granted landing privileges and who display any symptom of COVID-19, as per the case definition published by the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization, will be placed in immediate isolation at a health facility.