Bartlett assures tourism partners that Ja ready for pre-departure COVID tests
Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett (left) adheresto the COVID-19 protocols of a temperature checkand hand sanitisation with automated equipment,ahead of entering the reception area of Golf ViewHotel in Mandeville. At left is owner/director ofGolf View Hotel, Peter Campbell. (Photo: JIS)

MONTEGO BAY, St James — Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett says that almost 30 resorts are now providing their guests with free COVID-19 testing at their properties, which is adequate to facilitate all visitors to the Island.

“We are pleased to share that 26 resorts in Jamaica are providing guests with on-site testing, at no cost to the traveller. The Ministry of Health and Wellness has approved a total of 10 private laboratories to further enhance testing efforts, and we are establishing a number of sample collection centres throughout our resilient corridors to make testing a seamless process for guests staying at other properties,” Bartlett stated in a letter addressed to tourism partners, a copy of which was obtained by the Jamaica Observer.

“Additionally, testing resources are being deployed at our two international airports as we harden our redundancy capacity to ensure that all visitors to Jamaica will have access to pre-travel testing.

“We are resilient and will remain nimble, especially over the coming weeks, as we anticipate other potential changes for United States travellers,” said Bartlett.

In the letter, in which he sought to provide clarification surrounding the latest executive order promoting COVID-19 safety in domestic and international travel to the US, Bartlett underscored that all international travel regulations and recommendations from America remain the same under the new order announced by just-installed President Joe Biden.

“Jamaica's comprehensive COVID-19 travel protocols and measures are in full compliance with the requirements announced on January 21, 2021 by US President Joseph R Biden,” Bartlett stressed.

“The new executive order requires that all travellers seeking to enter the US from a foreign country provide proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test, taken no more than three days prior to departure to the US, and follow the CDC's [US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines for actions to take following international travel, which include recommended periods of self-quarantine or self-isolation after entry into the US,” noted Bartlett.

He explained that the most recent US order requires the secretaries of Health and Human Services, Transportation, and Homeland Security to provide the Administration with recommendations regarding the appropriate duration of quarantine, and acceptable timing and types of COVID-19 tests for international travellers entering the US.

“These federal agencies have 14 days to develop and submit their evaluations,” added Bartlett

The tourism minister further noted that the ministry is closely monitoring these developments and will continue to provide stakeholders with updates “as we adjust our processes as needed”.

Senior advisor and strategist in the Ministry of Tourism, Delano Seiveright explained that come today, both polymerase chain reaction and antigen tests will be accepted for individuals travelling to the United States.

“Test no more than three days before your flight departs and provide proof of the negative result, or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19, to the airline before boarding,” explained Seiveright.

For people travelling to Canada, as at Tuesday, January 19 they must present a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or a reverse transcription, loop-mediated, isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP) test at check-in, done no more than three days before flight departure.

For those travelling to the United Kingdom, as at Monday, January 18 a negative COVID-19 test is required. The test must be done no earlier than three days before departure, with PCR, RT-LAMP and many antigen tests accepted.

BY HORACE HINES Observer staff reporter

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