The 27 Jamaican nationals who returned home from the United Kingdom (UK) on April 21 are currently in State quarantine.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, gave the update while addressing Friday’s (April 23) sitting of the Upper House.
The Government has imposed a restriction on flights from the UK as part of prevention and containment strategies to deal with the new strain of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Senator Johnson Smith said that the return of the Jamaicans was made possible “through controlled re-entry exemptions granted by the Ministry of National Security under the Disaster Risk Management Act (DRMA) and, of course, subject to strict adherence to public health protocols, including agreement to State quarantine”.
She said at the end of the quarantine period and subject to negative test results the repatriated residents will rejoin their families.
“We know that an additional 66 persons, who are awaiting to return, are registered with us at the High Commission in London. The High Commission assures me that they remain actively engaged with those nationals on the ground and will continue to update them on the lifting or expiration of travel restrictions,” she said.
The Minister is encouraging persons in the UK to reach out to the High Commission.
Senator Johnson Smith noted that the Government continues to operate in the interest of safeguarding the public health of Jamaicans “as we fight the impact of this pandemic together”.
The UK travel restrictions were initially announced with immediate effect on December 21, 2020 for two weeks and have been extended since then, on the advice of public health officials. The current period of extension expires April 30, 2021.
Senator Johnson Smith lauded the relevant ministries, agencies and professionals who have worked on the logistics to enable the Jamaicans to return home.
“I want to thank, as well, British Airways that facilitated their arrival on this special flight and the team in the Consular Department at the Ministry and the Jamaican High Commission in London,” she said.
She said the team in London has been providing support to persons in terms of visa extensions, special medical needs, access to vaccination and tests, among other things.
Opposition Senator, Donna Scott Motley, said she is pleased at the measures to being Jamaicans in the UK home.