On Thursday, February 27, the Jamaican Ministry of Health has announced entry restrictions for travelers from several countries in efforts to control the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The announcement states that those traveling from Italy, South Korea, Singapore, and Iran who do not have permanent residency or marriage exemption in Jamaica will be denied entry. Similar restrictions were previously implemented for those traveling from China and remain in effect.
Jamaicans, permanent residents, and those with marriage exemptions who have visited these destinations in the 14 days preceding their arrival to Jamaica will be subject to a health assessment and quarantine.
To date, there are no confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On February 28, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the risk of spread and the risk of impact of the virus is "very high" at the global level.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
To reduce the general risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue - throw tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If you have fever, cough, and difficulty breathing seek medical care early and share previous travel history with your health care provider.
Travelers returning from China developing symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to avoid spread of the disease.