Jamaica broadens its travel ban to include some South American countries

Following news that Brazil has detected a new COVID-19 variant, Jamaica has broadened its travel ban to include travellers from six South American countries.

Non-nationals who have visited the UK, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Argentina and Paraguay within the last 14 days prior, will not be permitted entry into Jamaica.

The travel ban, which comes into effect on Thursday, April 1, is to remain in place until April 13.

A statement from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) on Wednesday (March 31) revealed that the decision to include the six South American states come amidst a noticeable spike in COVID-19 cases, as well as concerns over newly detected variants of the virus in that region.

“The decision was taken after a review of the situation in South America where several countries on that continent are experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases and the increasing number of countries with the ‘Brazilian variants,” read a release from the OPM.

The release explained that the latest strains that the World Health Organization (WHO) have classified as the B.1.1.28.1 or P.1 strain and the B.1.1.28.2 or P.2 strain,  which are colloquially known as the ‘Brazilian variants’, also factored in the country’s decision to ban travel from the specified countries.

Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness addresses a digital press conference on October 28. (Photo: JIS)

“Jamaica is at a critical juncture in the COVID-19 pandemic; we are experiencing a second surge of cases that has threatened to overwhelm our health care system. The restrictions on the specified countries are to decrease the likelihood of entry of the more transmissible variants to Jamaica,” added the OPM in its statement.

Under the new arrangement, Jamaicans who have visited the UK, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Argentina and Paraguay within 14 days prior to their intended arrival date, will be tested and detained at a state quarantine facility at their own expense.

If they test negative, they will be allowed to transfer to home quarantine to complete the 14-day mandatory quarantine period.

A positive test result, however, will require them to remain in an approved quarantine location.