Stock photo. Jamaica quarantined an entire flight on arrival from the UK. Arrivals will be tested and held for 48-hours. Further flights from the UK have been blocked for 14 days.

Norman Manley International Airport, Jamaica–December 21st, 2020–Jamaica yesterday imposed an immediate two-week ban on flights from the UK where a new strain of the novel coronavirus has emerged. However, flights arriving today and outbound flights to the UK will be allowed up to midnight.

Some 302 passengers, who arrived on a flight from the UK this afternoon are now in state quarantine for a minimum of 48 hours. At time of report there was no word as to whether the pilot and flight crew were also ordered into quarantine or whether special procedures were used to disinfect and isolate the arriving airplane.

The passengers will be sampled and will have to await their COVID-19 test result. Travelers who are negative for COVID-19 will be released to complete their mandatory 14 day quarantine, while those who are positive will be isolated until recovered.

Family members of passengers with concerns may contact the Ministry of Health and Wellness at 888-ONE-LOVE (888-663-5683). Again, family members must strictly adhere to the infection prevention and control measures when picking up their relatives, as well as during the mandatory quarantine period.

The travelers who test negative can be picked up by their relatives after the minimum 48-hour quarantine.

Persons may still develop symptoms during the 14-day quarantine period and transmit the virus to others, therefore travelers must follow the check-in protocols and family members must observe the COVID-19 infection prevention and control measures, says the official press release statement from the Jamaican government.

Jamaica’s decision to restrict flights from the United Kingdom (UK) — that has found itself in a pickle with a new coronavirus variant rapidly spreading in its southern region — has been accepted as “strong and decisive” by the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association.

Government yesterday announced an “immediate” ban of all flights coming into the island from the UK for two weeks — joining a long list of states closing borders to the European country and turning the tables on the UK which, in August, advised its citizens against non-essential travel to Jamaica as the island saw a surge in COVID-19 cases.

However, flights coming into the country today and outbound flights to the UK will be allowed up to midnight. The restriction is expected to end January 4.

The decision is likely to dampen stakeholders’ optimism of a 40 per cent increase in visitor arrivals for the winter tourist season, which began last week.

Jamaica was swiftly followed by Grenada and the Dominican Republic in banning incoming flights from the UK.