Black Immigrant Daily News
While some countries like the US and Japan move to mandate COVID-19 tests for passengers arriving from China, reflecting global concern that new variants could emerge in its ongoing explosive outbreak, Jamaica says it is monitoring the situation.
In an audio release from the Ministry of Health and Wellness on Wednesday, Chief Medical Officer Dr Jacquiline Bisasor McKenzie said the ministry, through its International Health Regulations Unit and the National Epidemiology Branch, is closely monitoring and gathering data on the COVID-19 situation in China and other parts of the world.
“There are particular circumstances in China that have led to an increase in their numbers,” she said.
The US, in announcing a negative test requirement Wednesday for passengers from China, cited both the surge in infections and what it said was a lack of information, including the genomic sequencing of the virus strains in the country.
The new US requirements, which start January 5, apply to travellers regardless of their nationality and vaccination status.
Passengers wearing masks walk through the Capital airport terminal in Beijing on Dec 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida expressed a similar concern about a lack of information when he announced a testing requirement for passengers from China earlier this week.
India, South Korea, Taiwan, and Italy have also announced various testing requirements for passengers from China. German health authorities are monitoring the situation but have not taken similar preemptive steps.
Meanwhile, in Jamaica, the CMO said the ministry is also well aware of the changes in climate and the increase in travelling and crowding, which will cause an uptick in viral illnesses, including COVID-19.
“We continue to urge Jamaicans to practice the infection prevention and control measures to safeguard against these illnesses by washing hands frequently, wearing a mask, avoiding crowds, and getting vaccinated,” Bisasor McKenzie said.
She also advised that the health ministry will further update the country on this and other public health matters in the days ahead.
The CMO also reminded that COVID-19 vaccines are available at health centres across the island.
“Persons who have not been vaccinated should go and get vaccinated and persons who have not received their booster should go and do so at this time,” she said.
Additional reporting by Associated Press