Tuesday 2 June, 2020

Entertainment, counselling, improved food for quarantined Jamaicans

Stock photo

Stock photo

A daily entertainment package, regular counselling, additional staff and a wider variety of food offerings are among the improvements that have taken place at the Runaway Bay, St Ann-based Bahia Principe Hotel where scores of repatriated Jamaicans are in quarantine as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The disclosure was made on Wednesday by Fabian Brown, the Human Resource and Development Manager at the hotel, as he spoke with the Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton, during a digital COVID-19 press conference from the health ministry’s New Kingston offices.

The update from Brown followed a litany of complaints from some of the 125 Jamaicans who arrived in the island aboard a chartered flight from the United Kingdom on May 6, and who have been quarantined at the hotel. Of 46 who were crew members aboard the cruise ship Marella Discovery 2, at least 12 have tested positive for the coronavirus since they arrived in the island.

The complaints about poor quality food and alleged disrespectful treatment from staff and healthcare workers led Prime Minister Andrew Holness to apologise to the quarantined Jamaicans, on behalf of the Government.

On Wednesday, Brown said the improvements have gone a far way in turning things around. He said the reviews have been positive. He also said apart from providing rooms and three meals per day, “We’ve also added to all of that an attention to the mental health and wellness of the persons in our facilities.”

The HR manager said the entertainment team now provides daily activities, “and this past weekend we would have had one of our own team members who himself is a minister of religion, providing spiritual wellness to the persons in the facility.”

Brown explained that the quarantined individuals walk out onto the balconies of their rooms while the entertainers perform.

Additionally, on-site transportation is provided at the sprawling property “just to expedite movement and the processes and just to ensure that the persons are as comfortable as possible,” said Brown.

He commended the hotel’s staff, including housekeepers and chefs, who he said have made the quarantined Jamaicans more comfortable at the facility.

With another 400 rooms being made available at the property to house persons who will begin disembarking Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s Adventure of the Seas on Thursday, Brown said adequate preparations, including an increase in the staff complement, have already been made.

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