US gov’t issues travel advisory to Jamaica over medical concerns Loop Jamaica

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The Government of the United States through its State Department recently issued a warning to its citizens via a travel advisory to be careful when travelling to Jamaica due to medical concerns and crime. The advisory posted on the State Department’s website stated US citizens must reconsider travel to Jamaica. “Reconsider travel to Jamaica due to crime and violence,” the advisory said.   On the issue of medical services, the State Department’s advisory stated: “Emergency services and hospital care vary throughout the island, and response times and quality of care may vary from US standards. Public hospitals are under-resourced and cannot always provide high-level or specialized care. Private hospitals require payment upfront before admitting patients and may not have the ability to provide specialized care.Ambulance services are not always readily available, especially in rural areas, and are not always staffed by trained personnel.” The advisory then highlighted: “We strongly encourage you to obtain traveller’s insurance, including medical evacuation insurance, before traveling to Jamaica. The Department of State does not pay medical bills.” On crime, the advisory made the following comment. “Local police often do not respond effectively to serious criminal incidents. When arrests are made, cases are infrequently prosecuted to a conclusive sentence. Families of US citizens killed in accidents or homicides frequently wait a year or more for final death certificates to be issued by Jamaican authorities. The homicide rate reported by the Government of Jamaica has for several years been among the highest in the Western Hemisphere.” The advisory then listed locations in Jamaica where their citizens should not visit.

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