McNeill wants clarification on COVID-19 testing for int'l travellers

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McNeill wants clarification on COVID-19 testing for int'l travellers

Monday, June 01, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — People's National Party's (PNP) spokesman on tourism, Dr Wykeham McNeill, is calling for clarification on the coronavirus testing protocol for international travellers to the island.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced yesterday that the island will reopen its borders to international travellers on June 15.

McNeill said “Jamaicans need to understand the reason for mandatory coronavirus testing for arriving nationals up to June 15, but not for incoming international non-Jamaican passengers”.

He said prior to the announcement, there was an understanding that visitors would be required to provide a COVID-19 Passport (proof of a negative COVID-19 test result conducted within 72 hours of arrival), however it was not mentioned in the prime minister's announcement yesterday.

“Given the fact that the Jamaican ship workers were not allowed to disembark the vessels without being tested, held in state quarantine until the results were known, why would the Government allow visitors to enter without any testing requirement. This establishes a double-standard which treats our Jamaican nationals as second-class citizens,” McNeill reasoned.

In addition, he said that the rules governing the use of beaches and other facilities and attractions need clarification as many of these facilities remain closed to Jamaican patrons but will be reopened to our visitors.

McNeill said that while the Opposition is generally supportive of the Government's efforts to reopen the economy to international travellers, there should be no shortcutting of the necessary protocol to ensure the maximum protection of the Jamaican society, especially those who work in the tourism sector.

“This is not the time to compromise on our standards; especially knowing that a vaccine has not been found and against the background of warnings from public health experts of a second wave later in the year into the next calendar year,” he said.

McNeill also noted that the tourism sector will reopen amid a curfew order which, he said, will undoubtedly negatively impact all-inclusive hotels as well as small businesses in resort areas.

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