May 15, 2024


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COVID: Jamaica reopened for tourism; Bahamas testing waters

COVID: Jamaica reopened for tourism; Bahamas testing waters

After 12 lengthy weeks of closed borders as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, Jamaica started welcoming again vacationers — and a whole bunch of its nationals — Monday because the nation reopened each of its worldwide airports. Cruise ports stay closed for now.

“The sensation on the airport was so festive because the prospect of over 5,000 staff getting again to work turned clear,” Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett informed the Miami Herald simply as an American Airways flight with an all-Jamaican crew arrived at Kingston’s Norman Manley Worldwide Airport.

The reopening of Jamaica’s tourism trade coincided with a phased reopening of the Bahamas’, which on Monday began permitting worldwide boaters and yachters to as soon as once more cruise its waters, and personal charters to land. Bahamian residents, authorized residents, householders qualifying for financial everlasting residency and their rapid members of the family have been additionally allowed to return on business flights forward of a July 1 official reopening for all worldwide vacationers.

For now, the Bahamas remains to be requiring vacationers to current a detrimental COVID-19 real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain-reaction take a look at, taken inside 10 days of journey. The testing requirement doesn’t apply to residents getting back from a Caribbean Group nation, youngsters beneath the age of two or non-public pilots who don’t deplane.

All vacationers, nonetheless, are required to finish an digital well being declaration kind at previous to departure and for any inter-island journey throughout the archipelago.

As of July 1, no exams or quarantine interval will probably be required of vacationers to the Bahamas so long as they haven’t been uncovered to the virus or present any signs. However everybody should endure temperature checks on the airport, the tourism ministry stated.

Dr. Duane Sands, who resigned final month as well being minister, informed Parliament final week that the Bahamas wants to consider doing extra COVID-19 testing, not much less. In any other case, the nation dangers a catastrophe.

“Information means that many are hoping for a solar, sand and sea trip after the dreary lockdowns. However in addition they wish to be secure. Is the housekeeper, maître d’, taxi driver or hair braider COVID secure? We can’t go away this as much as likelihood,” Sands stated.

“As we open up Eleuthera, Exuma and the opposite islands, allow us to be conscious that we’re doing so blindly. Surveillance have to be undergirded with testing,” he stated. “Many carriers of COVID-19 are asymptomatic or have atypical signs.”

The newest Caribbean nations to reopen their airports — St. Lucia and Antigua and Barbuda opened on June 4, and the U.S. Virgin Islands started welcoming again vacationers on June 1 — each the Bahamas and Jamaica proceed to indicate energetic transmissions of COVID-19, the illness attributable to the novel coronavirus.

The Bahamas Ministry of Well being’s newest dashboard reveals that 25 of the nation’s 104 registered circumstances stay energetic. In Jamaica, the variety of energetic circumstances is sort of eight instances extra. Jamaica has recorded 617 COVID-19 infections since registering its first case on March 10 with a traveler from the UK. In the present day, 187 infections are energetic.

Bartlett stated Jamaica, which was among the many final Caribbean international locations with COVID-19 to closed its air and sea borders, can’t afford to maintain its tourism trade shut down. The nation’s already fragile economic system stands to lose $10.3 billion, together with $762.8 million within the tourism sector if it doesn’t restart.

Final 12 months, the nation’s tourism sector introduced in $3.7 billion, he beforehand informed the Herald.

“The reopening of the tourism trade is required for the Jamaican economic system, and particularly the Jamaican staff,” Bartlett stated.

Tourism employs 350,000 staff who must work and who want earnings, Bartlett informed Parliament earlier this month. He stated a current survey of 8,000 staff confirmed that 93 p.c “need or must return to work.”

Jamaica is the most important of the Caribbean’s tourism economies to reopen since COVID-19 was first reported within the area on March 1, so its reopening is anticipated to be intently watched.

Different Caribbean nations which are as equally depending on tourism however with decrease or no energetic COVID-19 transmissions have chosen to maneuver extra cautiously. (The Dominican Republic, which continues to guide the area in infections, with greater than 22,000, has stated it should reopen to business flights on July 1).

Each Bartlett and Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who on Sunday introduced {that a} 14-day State of Public Emergency is in impact for Kingston Central and Kingston Western Police Divisions following a spike in crime, insist that the relaunch of Jamaica’s tourism model is being carried out in a managed method to permit for a fast response ought to the nation see a surge.

Vacationers have been separated into three classes: non-nationals visiting as vacationers; non-nationals visiting on enterprise for lower than 14 days, and residents, which incorporates each residents and non-citizens. All will want Journey Authorization to get into the nation.

Holness stated the federal government has already granted permission to eight,418 Jamaicans caught abroad to return house beneath the managed re-entry program based mostly on their utility to the Jamcovid system, which was put in place to regulate repatriation requests.

“These individuals are actually free to make their bookings on any out there flight,” Holness stated throughout a digital press convention held on the Workplace of the Prime Minister.

These people, together with all different vacationers to Jamaica, will probably be subjected to some form of quarantine and risk-based testing on the airport or a chosen authorities facility based mostly on the international locations they’re touring from, publicity to COVID-19 and different threat elements. As soon as examined, vacationers should wait for his or her take a look at outcomes, which ought to take not more than 72 hours, at their lodges or resorts. Anybody testing optimistic will probably be remoted both at their lodge or in a authorities quarantine facility.

All vacationers visiting Jamaica will probably be restricted of their motion, nonetheless. The federal government has designated a “COVID-19 Resilient Hall,” from Negril to Port Antonio, permitting solely companies and lodges and resorts in that hall to reopen as soon as they’ve been inspected to make sure sanitary measures have been put in place.

“The hall is designed to maintain the employees and our nation secure by solely opening an space during which we’ve got the capability to coach, oversee and handle,” Bartlett stated. “Each effort is being made to make sure that that is what we name a managed area, in order that we will observe and hint and likewise that we will have prepared entry to no matter safety or different measures are wanted… and to make sure management.”

This story was initially printed June 15, 2020 1:53 PM.

COVID: Jamaica reopened for tourism; Bahamas testing waters

Jacqueline Charles has reported on Haiti and the English-speaking Caribbean for the Miami Herald for over a decade. A Pulitzer Prize finalist for her protection of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, she was awarded a 2018 Maria Moors Cabot Prize — probably the most prestigious award for protection of the Americas.