Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness says that fully vaccinated travelers to Jamaica no longer have to quarantine, as long as they provide a negative PCR test prior to coming into the island.
Holness announced a relaxing of some of the island’s COVID-19 measures on Tuesday.
The Prime Minister said that the requirement for all travelers to present a negative COVID-19 test conducted within three days of travel remains in place, as does the requirement to self-quarantine for 14 days after arrival for persons who are not fully vaccinated.
However, fully vaccinated persons (which means the person has received both doses of a two-dose vaccine or the single dose of a one-dose vaccine and at least two weeks have elapsed since receiving the last dose), who obtain a PCR test as their pre-test prior to travel, will not be required to conduct another PCR test after arrival in order to be released from quarantine.
“I know this will be very useful to the non-all-inclusive tourism sector, for business travelers and so forth. We are cautiously trying to take down the shield and the barriers that have kept us safe, but at the same time, have been very restrictive to people’s livelihoods,” Mr. Holness said.
“Let me emphasize that antigen tests are still acceptable for travel to Jamaica. However, if fully vaccinated travelers do an antigen test prior to arrival, they would still be required to either quarantine for eight days or do a PCR test in Jamaica to be released from quarantine,” he added.
The Prime Minister also announced a change in the island’s nightly curfew, from 9 PM to 5 AM, seven days a week. The previous curfew was set at 8 PM. The new curfew hours will take effect on November 18 and remain in effect for a three-week period ending December 9, 2021.
Holness also urged Jamaicans to get vaccinated, noting that COVID-19 is entering the epidemic phase and residents will have to learn to live with the virus. He also stated that as the country moves forward, there will be no more shutdowns.
“The Government continues to act in the best interest to preserve lives and livelihoods as best as possible. We are being very cautious in reopening. Just to be clear, we are not going to shut down again. We have reopened our schools [and] we have seen cases reported of possible exposure to COVID-19. We tell them to sanitise, clean up, isolate the child, but we are not going to close the schools again. It is what it is. If it is we have reached this level of frustration with the measures, we can’t continue to have that, so we have to take down the measures, we have to do so gradually, and we will face the brave new COVID world where it is your responsibility to maintain social distance, sanitise, do your own surveillance and find a way,” Holness stated.
At the same time, the Prime Minister stated that Jamaica, much like the rest of the Caribbean region, is preparing for a fourth wave of COVID-19, which he predicts will happen in January, after the Christmas festivities.