Jamaica has expanded restrictions on travellers from overseas to now include those from six South American countries – Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay and Peru.
According to a statement issued by the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) on Wednesday, the expansion of the restrictions to more overseas travellers came after a review of the situation in South America where several countries there are experiencing noticeable spikes in COVID-19 cases.
The OPM has also pointed to the increasing number of countries with the Brazilian variants of COVID-19, which are said to be more easily transmitted from person to person.
The travel ban which takes effect on Thursday, April 1, is to remain in place until April 13.
“Jamaica is at a critical juncture in the COVID-19 pandemic; we are experiencing a second surge of cases that has threatened to overwhelm our health care system. The restrictions on the specified countries are to decrease the likelihood of entry of the more transmissible variants to Jamaica,” the statement said.
Under the new restrictions, all non-Jamaicans who have been in the UK, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Argentina and Paraguay within the last 14 days prior to their intended arrival date in Jamaica, will not be permitted to enter Jamaica.
It also noted that Jamaicans who have been in the seven listed countries within the 14 days prior to their intended arrival date, who seek to enter the island through another country, will be tested and detained in state quarantine at their own expense for a minimum of 48 hours until the results are returned. If negative, they will be allowed to transfer to home quarantine to complete the 14-day mandatory quarantine period. If positive, they will remain in isolation at a location that is approved by the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
As of Tuesday, Jamaica had recorded 39,237 cases of COVID-19 and 596 deaths.
Nearly 21,000 cases are deemed to be active.