Amid growing demand for international airline passengers to present negative COVID-19 tests before boarding flights, the government has named a special task force to boost the country's testing capacity.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued an order requiring all airline passengers from international destinations to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test before boarding flights to the US.
The new order goes into effect on January 26.
The UK and Canada have similar measures in place.
Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett said the new travel requirements prompted the government to act.
Delano Seiveright, Senior Advisor in the Ministry of Tourism, told Radio Jamaica News that the move will reduce the fallout in the tourism sector.
"We have decided to pretty much condense all our efforts in one building capacity locally, in conjunction with the private sector and of course with government support where possible, to ramp up testing capabilities here. Two, we want to ensure that we are communicating effectively locally and internationally with all stakeholders so they are aware of what the respective criteria are and that they are in a position to put together their travel plans appropriately. And overall, we're keen on ensuring that despite the fallout that is likely in the coming days and week, that we're in a position to quickly recover and get the capacity in place to ensure that our tourism industry goes back on a growth path," he outlined.
The task force is led by Mr. Bartlett and includes the president of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, Clifton Reader, and the First Vice President of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association.