Thursday 2 July, 2020

Jamaicans to return on first evacuation flight from Cayman on Thursday

With Jamaica's border opened to its returning citizens as of June 1, the authorities in the Cayman Islands have announced the first evacuation flight to the island from that country, which is scheduled for Thursday of this week.

The announcement, which was made on Monday, indicated that a passenger list for the outbound Cayman Airways flight is being compiled by the Jamaica Honorary Consulate there. The consulate is to prioritise compassionate cases.

"All cleared passengers will be contacted by the consulate to make arrangements," the Cayman Compass reported, adding that, "Interested travellers are asked not to contact the Travel Helpline or the Governor’s Office with questions."

It was not clear, however, the number of Jamaicans who can be accommodated on the flight.

But the authorities informed that individuals must register on the JamCOVID website at https://jamcovid19.moh.gov.jm/ to qualify to return to Jamaica at present.

Meanwhile, the flight is also scheduled to return to Cayman Islands from Jamaica with "a small number of Caymanians who will be subject to 14 days of government quarantine after landing," media reports indicated.

To date, the Cayman Islands has recorded 150 cases of coronavirus (COVID-19), with one death as a result of the respiratory illness. A total of 75 persons have so far recovered from the virus there.

The phased reopening of Jamaica’s border was announced by Prime Minister Andrew Holness on Sunday during a digital press conference from Jamaica House.

In addition to the repatriation of Jamaican nationals from June 1, international travellers are to be welcomed to the island as of June 15.

Holness said the Government is to move to implement new controlled re-entry protocols based on risk assessments of the countries from which persons are seeking to re-enter Jamaica. The Administration is also considering the travel routes that these persons intend to take.

“Countries that have a similar management and profile result for the epidemic, regarding spread, death rate, infection prevention and control measures, contact tracing protocols and other such criteria, could constitute a travel bubble that determine the protocols that would apply to their re-entry,” Holness explained on Sunday.

Such countries include those in the Caribbean, most likely those that make up the CARICOM bloc, as well as the Cayman Islands and Anguilla.

Holness said persons seeking to re-enter Jamaica from countries within this travel bubble may not need to be tested on arrival.

However, they would be subjected to health status screening, including temperature checks and observation for any symptoms of the coronavirus.

Additionally, all persons entering the country must go through a sensitisation programme with public health officials using flyers as well as audio visual aids.

Holness also indicated that between June 1 and 14, all persons seeking to enter Jamaica will be subject to testing, except for those entering from a country within the travel bubble.

Jamaicans returning from countries that are not considered part of the travel bubble will also be subject to home quarantine for 14 days with either phone or wrist band geofencing.

For non-Jamaicans entering the country as of June 15, testing upon arrival will be subject to the results of the public health screening at the ports of entry.

All persons entering Jamaica, however, will be encouraged to undergo voluntary testing at the ports of entry, or they can make an appointment on the Jam-Covid App to be tested.

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