BREAKING: Jamaica bans arrivals as island confirms 19 cases of coronavirus

Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has declared that the island will be shutting down its air and sea ports effective Saturday night (March 21) to further contain the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The ban, which covers an initial two-week period, will officially affect incoming passengers. Individuals wishing to leave the island will be afforded the opportunity as those arrangements are still in place.

Additionally, the island confirmed three positive tests of COVID-19 on Friday (March 20), bringing the national tally to 19.

“The decision has been taken that with effect from 11:59 pm on Saturday, March 21, and for a period of 14 days in the first instance, Jamaica’s air and sea ports will be closed to incoming passenger traffic. Outgoing passenger and cargo will be allowed,” he said.

Following deliberations in Cabinet, PM Holness further disclosed that an increased emphasis will be placed on the elderly and other high-risk groups as Jamaica enters a new phase of its COVID-19 response.

“We’ve discussed and agreed that we will be utilising our final year medical students in relation to supporting clinical and surveillance activities of the Ministry of Health. We need all the help we can get so that we are able to cover as much ground as possible in ensuring that we can contain the spread as long as possible,” Holness added.

A quarantine centre at the University Hospital of the West Indies is to be established, he noted.