Jamaica Leads the Way in Virus Testing US Tourists

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In what could be a future widespread Caribbean procedure, visitors traveling to Jamaica from Florida and other states in the United States will be required to pretest before arrival on the island as of July 1.

The announcement was made by Prime Minister Andrew Holness yesterday, two weeks after the island reopened its airport to allow for international travel. The pre-requisite for entry applies to individuals coming from COVID-19 hot spots, including Florida, New York, Arizona, and Texas.

The four states combined have recorded more than 700,000 COVID-19 cases and are among Jamaica’s most important source markets in the United States. Holness said, however, that other states may be added to the list.

The Government says it had not moved to impose the requirement for all US visitors due to issues with widespread availability of the polymerise chain reaction (PCR) test, among other considerations.

Visitors must upload their test results to the Visit Jamaica portal.

The prime minister said, while approval for entry is subject to pretesting, negative results do not mean automatic approval as permission to enter is still risk-based.

“Persons registering to visit Jamaica coming from these areas, as of July 1, will be required to upload a valid PCR test [result], which must [not have] been more than seven days old from the expected date of their arrival… As of July 10, persons visiting Jamaica [non-residents] from the declared high-risk areas will be required to present their PCR test,” he stated.

At the same time, Holness urged individuals to reconsider travelling at this time if they have been confirmed with COVID-19.

All arriving passengers will still be subjected to health screening and risk-based assessment at ports of entry. He said the controlled re-entry programme that was implemented between June 1 and 15, and the controlled entry programmed from June 15 to 30, had been generally successful.

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