The Government of Jamaica has announced the temporary closure of the nation’s air and seaports to incoming passenger traffic as the COVID-19 cases increase to 19.
“We are at a point in the pandemic where we are classified as having local transmission of Covid-19,” the PM announced at a press conference Friday evening. “The closure of the borders had to be properly managed; however it was always the intent of the government to close our borders. For our citizens overseas unable to come in, they will need to shelter in place. We know this is hard, but our next step will be to see how we can assist those persons.”
We understand that this decision to close our borders will cause some displacement, but this is an EMERGENCY. ”
The prime minister also announced that with effect from 11:59 PM on Saturday, March 21, 2020, and for a period of fourteen (14) days in the first instance, Jamaica’s air and seaports will be closed to incoming passenger traffic. Outgoing passenger and cargo will be allowed. He added that outgoing passengers will be accommodated while flights are still operational.
The three new cases include a 38-year-old male US citizen with a history of travel from Boston who arrived March 14, a 30-year-old female with a history of travel from New York arriving in Jamaica on March 17 and a 60-year-old female, a retiree of Portland.
As PM also addressed why he didn’t answer Jamaicans calls to close the ports, saying, “In managing the health issues we have to also manage the economic issues. We cannot shut down the economy, this would create another type of crisis where people cannot access the goods and services they need.”
“We were hoping that we wouldn’t have to use enforcement measures, but it is becoming clear that we will have to. We will not allow any individual to put the health of the country at risk,” he added in a tweet.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Health & Wellness, Jamaica wishes to urgently make contact with all passengers, who travelled on the following flight: JetBlue Flight 659, which arrived at at the Norman Manley International Airport on Tuesday, March 17, 2020 at 1:00 a.m.