Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, is calling on members of the Jamaican Diaspora to delay travelling to Jamaica and to countries where there is an increasing infection rate of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
“We know you may have strong emotional reasons for travelling at this time; we know that those of you who had plans to come for Champs are hugely disappointed… but we are asking you, for your own personal safety, your own risk reduction and for the general effort, to reduce non-essential travel and, accordingly, reduce the risk of spreading the infection,” the Minister said, at a press briefing at the Office of the Prime Minister, in Kingston, on March 12.
Senator Johnson-Smith also recommended that members of the Jamaican Diaspora reconsider non-essential travel overseas, especially if they are planning to return to Jamaica after travelling to countries such as China, Italy, Iran, Spain and Germany, for which Jamaica has imposed travel restrictions.
However, as it relates to Jamaicans overseas who are desirous of travelling to Jamaica at this time, the Minister said every Jamaican has a Constitutional right to be landed where there has been no legal modification of that right, and that the only adjustment to that right would be in a case where quarantine is required.
The country, in the meantime, she said, has to apply its own risk assessment to persons coming in and enhanced questions, especially if they exhibit high-risk travel history.
In the meantime, Senator Johnson Smith said diplomatic missions and offices of international organisations in the island are being asked to implement social distancing practices and to refrain from hosting any public gathering, the normal courtesy greeting of shaking hands, kissing and hugging and resort to a less interactive mode of greeting.