Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, is urging Jamaicans to remain vigilant against the coronavirus (COVID-19) in light of the emergence of the Omicron variant.
“I take this opportunity to caution Jamaicans to remain vigilant, as we see the variant spread to various countries. This variant has now been identified in 19 countries in four World Health Organization (WHO) regions,” Dr. Tufton said.
He noted that preliminary evidence suggests that there may be an increased risk of reinfection with Omicron.
“It is not yet clear, however, whether Omicron is more transmissible, neither is the severity of this variant known when compared to others. Additionally, the WHO is working with its technical partners to understand the potential impact of this variant on our existing countermeasures, including vaccines,” Dr. Tufton said.
The Minister was making a statement to the House of Representatives on November 30.
In keeping with previous protocols once variants are uncovered, and as a precaution, Jamaica has imposed restrictions on travellers from a number of African countries.
The countries are Botswana, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.
All persons who are not citizens or permanent residents of Jamaica and who have visited these countries within the last 14 days will not be allowed entry into the island.
“All Jamaican citizens and permanent residents who have visited the named countries within the last 14 days will be allowed entry. However, they will be subject to mandatory testing and State-supervised quarantine for no less than 14 days,” Dr. Tufton said.