Opposition spokesperson on health and wellness, Dr Morais Guy, says the People’s National Party (PNP) is opposed to removing the COVID-19 pre-test requirement for travellers to Jamaica.
In a release Thursday, he said the Opposition is also not in support of the relaxation of the indoor mask-wearing requirement.
On Wednesday, the Government announced that effective April 15, 2022, COVID-19 pre-testing will no longer be required for travel to Jamaica and the wearing of masks in enclosed public places will be highly encouraged but not mandatory.
On the heels of that announcement, Dr Guy said it is unwise for the Government to adopt such a stance as there is a continued risk from the COVID-19 Omicron sub-variant BA2, which persists in some jurisdictions where the majority of Jamaica’s visitors are from.
“Several countries are still facing an Omicron wave, and removing the pre-test requirement for entry into Jamaica is ill-advised and reckless.”
Dr Guy said there is an argument of cost for the pre-test, but Jamaica only requires the inexpensive antigen test to satisfy the protocol requirement. Therefore, he said, the claim shouldn’t be used to justify removing the pre-test protocol for entering Jamaica.
The Opposition spokesman said the Government should reconsider its current approach to mask-wearing and the pre-test requirement for travel. Furthermore, with only 24 per cent of the population vaccinated, he insisted that the new policy would directly threaten seniors predisposed to complications from COVID-19 due to the high likelihood of comorbidities.
Dr Guy said, instead of relaxing the requirements the Government should mandate that mask-wearing be maintained and enforced for indoor spaces, such as schools, businesses, places of worship, and entertainment.
The Opposition spokesperson reminded the Government that the World Health Organization (WHO) has maintained that the pandemic is not over.