JIS News

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  • Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, is expected to meet with cruise line operators regarding the threat of the coronavirus (COVID-19) as it relates to future bookings.
  • “I am going to meet with the cruise lines on Friday (March 6), after which we will have a better sense of how things are looking down the road. We are talking with our partners to make sure that there is consensus on the way forward. The business of ensuring that life continues, despite coronavirus, is a serious one,” he said.
  • Mr. Bartlett was addressing the Standing Finance Committee of the House on Tuesday (March 3), which examined the 2020/21 Estimates of Expenditure.

Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, is expected to meet with cruise line operators regarding the threat of the coronavirus (COVID-19) as it relates to future bookings.

“I am going to meet with the cruise lines on Friday (March 6), after which we will have a better sense of how things are looking down the road. We are talking with our partners to make sure that there is consensus on the way forward. The business of ensuring that life continues, despite coronavirus, is a serious one,” he said.

Mr. Bartlett was addressing the Standing Finance Committee of the House on Tuesday (March 3), which examined the 2020/21 Estimates of Expenditure.

Amid health concerns since the outbreak of the virus, cruise lines travelling to Jamaica recently have either been restricted from docking or its passengers prevented from disembarking.

“The business of ensuring that there is an appropriate protocol which protects Jamaica is foremost in our minds. It begins there… with the health and well-being of our people,” the Minister emphasised.

He noted that even though there is a global protocol that the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) give support to, and may be embraced by cruise lines all around, “we do recognise that each territory has a responsibility to its own citizens to ensure that the protocols that it establishes are in the best interest of its health security”.

Last week, the MSC Meraviglia was refused entry to Jamaica’s shores by the Ministry of Health and Wellness when it was learnt that the vessel, which was heading to Ocho Rios, St. Ann, had a sick quarantined person on board. In addition, Italian passengers were not allowed to disembark the Costa Luminosa of the Carnival Cruise Lines in Ocho Rios.

Jamaica has issued travel restrictions for Italy, China, South Korea, Singapore and Iran.

Minister Bartlett said he will be accompanying Health and Wellness Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, to meet with representatives of both cruise lines.

In the meantime, the Minister informed of the establishment of a steering committee – the Stakeholders Crisis Management Team – which has been working to develop a protocol for how persons are to conduct themselves in hotels, in light of the COVID-19 threat.

“The tourism industry is being prepared, firstly with public education, so that every single person in the industry is going to be aware of what this coronavirus is about. We will be using all sorts of public relations [strategies] to get the messages across. It’s about educating in terms of hygienic practices… the whole business of washing your hands and ensuring that you don’t touch your face, and when you cough what you do,” he said.

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