JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Quick response teams, comprising members of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), are to be formed as part of the Government’s response mechanism to protect the country from any threat of the deadly Ebola virus.
  • More than 4,000 persons have died as a result of the outbreak of the disease which started in West Africa earlier this year.
  • As a precaution, the Government of Jamaica has heightened its preparation to fight Ebola.

Quick response teams, comprising members of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), are to be formed as part of the Government’s response mechanism to protect the country from any threat of the deadly Ebola virus.

More than 4,000 persons have died as a result of the outbreak of the disease which started in West Africa earlier this year. As a precaution, the Government of Jamaica has heightened its preparation to fight Ebola.

In a statement to Parliament on October 21, Minister of National Security, Hon. Peter Bunting, informed that the quick response teams will be formed as part of the Integrated National Coordinating Team, headed by the Ministry of Health and JDF, to lead the country’s heightened Ebola preparations.

“The JDF has the track record, both in terms of experience and capacity, to lead in disaster preparedness and relief and will support the Ministry of Health in mounting a robust response to the threat of Ebola,” he said.

The Minister noted that the teams, which will be based at Up Park Camp, will also support the public education and partner engagement activities of the Ministry of Health.

In the meantime, Mr. Bunting informed that the Government has taken a number of steps to strengthen border security, noting that the Coast Guard and marine police will be increasing surveillance of the country’s maritime space.

The Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) will also be enforcing the recently announced travel ban on persons travelling from or via countries designated by the World Health Organization (WHO) as worst affected by the Ebola outbreak.

“PICA/Ministry of Health will be implementing temperature sensors at our ports of entry. A number of handheld versions of temperature scan machines were made available through well-thinking citizens,” the Minister informed.

Further, Sagicor Jamaica Limited has donated $4 million to PICA to purchase a body scanning machine that uses infrared technology to detect individuals with elevated body temperatures.

Mr. Bunting said the Government’s preparation to fight Ebola is in keeping with the best-known practices, as stipulated by WHO, and adopted by countries that are now Ebola free.