KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica’s airports will remain shut to incoming passenger flights for another two weeks, Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced. This means the borders will be closed until April 21.
According to Holness, the extended border closure is aimed at mitigating the spread of the deadly coronavirus, (COVID-19) on the island.
Up to Friday, Jamaica had recorded 53 cases of the respiratory virus, a doubling of cases from 26 in just seven days.
“At this stage, we have to look at what is in the national interest, the public interest and even in the interest of those who have to shelter in place overseas,” Holness said.
Many Jamaican nationals have been stranded overseas since Jamaica announced the closure of its borders on March 21 (which was later extended to March 24). In the United States, Jamaican hospitality workers were assisted by the US Ambassador and the Consuls of Miami and New York, with temporary accommodation.
Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, Audrey Marks also said that the embassy would be assisting nationals stuck in the United States with an expired visa due to COVID-19.
Prime Minister Holness also sought to reassure members of the diaspora that considerations were being made to facilitate those who want to return home. “The other consideration is that the countries from which we would get most of our nationals seeking to return home are countries with…exponential rise in their community spread and therefore we have to be very concerned about that,” Holness stated.
The prime minister reiterated that at the end of the 14 days, the government will review and make a decision on whether to allow incoming passengers into the country.
In the interim, he said the administration will be looking at what protocols to put in place in the post-COVID pandemic era as it relates to entry into the country.