Canadian High Commissioner to Jamaica Laurie Peters is urging fellow citizens to make their final arrangements and leave the Caribbean until the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) ends.
Peters, who also serves as High Commissioner in the Turks and Caicos Islands, Bahamas, and Cayman Islands, said via video on Tuesday (March 24) it would be in the best interest of all Canadians to leave before things get worse and borders are closed preventing repatriation.
“Fellow Canadians, I have the honour of being your High Commissioner in Jamaica, the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos and Cayman Islands and my message for you today is it’s time to go home,” she began.
“I hope you’ve been enjoying your stay here in the beautiful Caribbean but given the impact of the coronavirus COVID-19, your best bet really is to return to Canada,” the High Commissioner added.
Peters urged Canadians to make their final travel preparations sooner than later as sudden changes in itinerary, flight cancellations or exit and entrance restrictions could continue to be imposed across the Caribbean, as several states have already done.
“You really need to make those arrangements today. Your options are dwindling to get back home,” she said.
Help available for Canadians unable to finance their travel
In the meantime, High Commissioner Peters explained that an emergency fund is available for Canadians already affected by the coronavirus pandemic, who no longer have the financial means to travel.
“There is financial assistance available, the Government of Canada has put forth an emergency fund for which you might be eligible,” she noted.
Citizens who are yet to sign up for the Registry of Canadians Abroad are being urged to do so, to receive timely updates, advisories, and other related travel information. The website to register is travel.gc.ca.
“Again, fellow Canadians in the Caribbean, it’s time to go home. Do travel safely and we look forward to welcoming you when this all blows over back in the beautiful Caribbean. Merci. Stay safe,” Peters ended.
Across the four island states, there have been a total of 31 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with two deaths in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.
See the video in full, courtesy of the Canadian High Commission in Jamaica, below: