A report from the Caribbean National Weekly.
The Jamaican government has announced a protocol that will allow for the re-entry of Jamaicans that have been stuck overseas due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
Jamaica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Kamina Johnson Smith advised that this phase of controlled re-entry is being made available for Jamaican nationals that have been stuck overseas under distressing circumstances. Jamaicans who live overseas and want to travel to Jamaica for business or leisure are being advised to wait.
The minister said that returning Jamaicans must agree to a 14-day quarantine period in a government-provided facility. There will be no option to leave before the quarantine period has expired.
She also noted that Jamaica does not have the resources to charter flights or to pay for the return of nationals.
“Persons will therefore be responsible for making their own arrangements for travel, taking into consideration the limited availability of flights,” she said.
“We have started informing the airlines of our protocols for controlled re-entry and advising them that nationals who still hold tickets for their airlines will now be seeking to re-book once they have received the travel authorization through our new online portal (jamcovid19.moh.gov.jm),” she continued.
Johnson Smith noted that the re-entry process is accessible on the COVID-19 website at jamcovid19.moh.gov.jm or on the new mobile application “JamCovid19”. The websites zero-rate so residents will not need a data plan to browse.
“When you go on that website, you click on immigration (THE IMMIGRATION TAB IS LOCATED AT THE TOP RIGHT CORNER) and you will see a form that asks you to sign in with your email,” the minister said.
She noted that the process requires personal information including health status, which will only be shared with public health officials.
Johnson Smith added that once an application has been submitted, individuals will either receive, within three days, conditional approval or asked to answer additional questions.
The minister stressed that airlines will not accept a booking until the individual has received a travel authorization which is issued at the end of the application process.
Following the announcement, the minister said that the website was already receiving 100,000 hits per second. The capacity of the site has been expanded but she, however, urged Jamaicans to be patient.