With the cruise ship industry affected by the pandemic COVID-19. Stopover visitors to Jamaica are on the decline. Jamaica received most of its visitors from America, where the virus is setting high records each day. Visitors to the island are expected to be tested on arrival. The ministry of health says visitors must self-quarantine for 14 days.
To date, the virus has affected over 9,000 cases, with 208 deaths across the island. In the last 14 days, the total cases were 899 recorded. As of October 27, 2020, Jamaica’s air and sea borders were open to foreign travelers. All passengers require travel authorization.
The Prime minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness announced the extension of measures to fight COVID-19 virus. An island-wide curfew remains in effect between 9:00 pm and 5:00 am daily, until November 16, 2020. For persons over 65, they must continue to stay at home, unless for basic necessities until November 30, 2020. There is a limit to public gatherings, at 15 persons per gathering. The ban on funerals, parties will continue. Burials will have strict guidelines and enforcement of 15 people rule, until November 30, 2020.
There has been a high toll in job losses due to COVID-19. From low-income households persons earning minimum wages, there were reports of job loss in families. The Statistical Institute of Jamaica says the island’s unemployment rate which is 7.3 % at the beginning of the year will enter double digits by the end of the year.
Over 170,000 Jamaicans are employed in the local tourism industry. Due to the fall out from COVID-19 crisis. During the summer only 17000 was still working. The winter Tourist season begins on December 15, 2020. The Tourist Minister Edmund Bartlett is working to get the economy going again. This is a priority of the Prime Minister who said the citizens have to learn to live with the virus.
It must be noted that cruise ships have discontinued visiting the island of Jamaica due to travel restrictions over 8 months. Jamaica and the Cayman islands early in the pandemic turned away cruise ships on suspicion that they carried Tourists infected with the virus.
With COVID-19 risk high for Jamaica, the CDC Centers for disease control recommends travelers avoid all non-essential international travel. Examples of essential travel include Humanitarian work, medical reasons, family emergencies. Persons with underlying medical conditions, severe illness should consider postponing all travel
Prime Minister Holness says “until we get a vaccine which is at least a year and a half away, the outbreak has to be managed by the collective will of the people.
A mist a record low turn out of approximately 35% the Jamaican general election went on September 3, 2020. With restrictions in place, physical distancing prevented the usual mass meetings. Protocols such as wearing a mask was one of the biggest changes to public behavior. At the end of the elections, Health and Wellness Minister Christopher Tufton described that Jamaica had entered the “community transmission” phase of the virus.
PHILIP DINHAM is a writer/contributor for Jamaicans.com. He has years of experience and service in media relations. He resides in the town of Indian Trail, near the queen city of Charlotte, North Carolina, USA.