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Jamaica to reclose borders if visitors who test positive for COVID-19 pass set threshold - PM

Prime Minister Andrew Holness
 
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has signalled that he will again close the country's borders if the number of persons coming into Jamaica who test positive for COVID-19 passes a certain threshold.
 
When the borders reopened to Jamaicans on June 1, there were 588 cases of COVID-19 in Jamaica.
 
On June 15, when non-nationals were also allowed to enter Jamaica, COVID-19 cases were at 621.
 
That number has since grown to 684.
 
However, Mr. Holness says the number of imported COVID-19 cases has still not surpassed 2.5 per cent of total arrivals into the island. 
 
"We expect that 2.5 per cent or lower will be tested positive. We can manage 2.5 per cent in terms of people who we'll have to quarantine in state facility, may require medical care and attention and all the other resources that go into containing. Above that, we would have to shut down and rethink how we move forward," he said. 
 
Meanwhile, Mr. Holness has responded to a suggestion that tourists who test positive for COVID-19 upon landing in Jamaica be sent back immediately to their countries.
 
The Prime Minister said the issue is being looked at but would not be a simple process. 
 
"Remember now, there are protocols that we as a country have to follow. We are part of the WHO system, so you really can't send back someone who is tested positive on a commercial aircraft. There would have to be particular arrangements around that and that is what they are working out now." 
 
Mr. Holness was an in-studio guest Friday during Radio Jamaica's Hotline programme.
 
Dr. Alverston Bailey, Associate Professor of Public Health at the University of Technology (UTech), has argued that the current protocol of isolating visitors at hotels and government facilities should be abandoned in favour of sending persons back home.
 


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