Opposition Wants Travel Ban Extended To Other Countries With Mutated Coronavirus

The Opposition says the Government should extend the travel ban to other countries where the mutated coronavirus (COVID-19) has been detected so as to protect Jamaica from any possible risks.

Jamaica yesterday imposed travel restrictions on the United Kingdom amid the presence of the new strain of the virus.

Spokesperson on Health and Wellness, Dr Morais Guy, says scientific data had confirmed that the same coronavirus variant, which is responsible for the lockdown in the UK and prompted the widespread travel restrictions, had been detected in the Netherlands, South Africa, Denmark, and at least one case in Australia.  

As a result, nationals from these countries have been placed under travel restrictions by several European countries as a precautionary step, he noted.

In a statement today, Guy argued that the protection of the Jamaican population should be paramount and is urging the administration to adopt a more robust plan to guarantee the safety of citizens. 

He said the travel ban on the UK is a necessary step but more needs to be done to close all the possibilities of exposure to the new variant strain of the coronavirus.  

He is calling for the Government to follow the lead of other countries and immediately impose travel restrictions on nationals of those countries where the mutated virus has already been detected.

The opposition spokesperson is further calling for the government to tell the country whether the level of cooperation and sharing of information with the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) and other international partners have revealed any different strain of the coronavirus within the Jamaican population.

Guy said he had taken note of the assessment of multiple experts in the epidemiology of viruses who have warned that the new variation is a real cause for concern, and they have collectively urged governments to take urgent action.

“We must now practice what we preach and ensure that the protocols are being adhered to at our ports of entry, including the mandatory quarantine regiment and contact tracing, when necessary,” Guy said.

Guy reiterated that the opposition would hold the government accountable for the entry of the new strain of the virus into Jamaica.

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