“No Testing for Tourists”; Jamaicans Call on Government To Reevaluate Border Reopening Protocols

As the Jamaican government rolls out the protocol for the reopening of its borders, many Jamaicans are calling for a re-evaluation of the measures that will dictate re-entry.

There is much much confusion surrounding the re-entry requirements for Jamaican nationals and those which have been dictated for non-Jamaican tourists, who will be allowed to visit beginning June 15.

According to Jamaica’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Kamina Johnson-Smith, Jamaicans that want to come home will still have to apply for authorization by using the Jamcovid19.moh.gov.jm website or app.

“We are still in a pandemic. We are intent on allowing more flights to bring J’cans home and therefore also moving to partial home quarantine. You still need Jamcovid Travel Authorization to be landed so your airline may cancel or refuse boarding if you dont have it”, a tweet from Johnson-Smith read.

The Jamaican returnees coming from a country within a constituted “travel bubble” (yet to be outlined) may not be tested for COVID-19 but would be subject to health status screenings. They will also be subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine. Jamaicans returning from countries outside of the bubble will absolutely be tested.

In the meantime, the government has said tourists will undergo VOLUNTARY testing.

On Twitter, a tourist asked Deputy Chairman of Sandals Resorts, Adam Stewart, who has rallied for the reopening of Jamaica’s borders, about the protocols. He responded by saying, “No testing, no quarantine, only standard airport physical observations for symptoms and thermal temperature checks.”

“Why are Jamaican nationals being subject to testing and quarantine when non-Jamaican tourists get to choose?”, is the question that many nationals still stuck overseas have posed.

As Prime Minister Andrew Holness pushes for greater personal responsibility, he must also realize that not every visitor will understand that it is in the best interest of the Jamaican people to be tested for the virus.

Thus given the choice, many will opt not to be tested and run the risk of spreading the virus among Jamaican citizens.

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