The Medical Association of Jamaica (MAJ) is raising concerns about the potential spread of the Indian COVID-19 variant on the island following a resumption of travel by residents of the United Kingdom.
The UK resumed global travel on Monday after banning all non-essential international travel in January. The resumption of travel coincides with a lifting of Jamaica’s UK travel ban on May 1st.
But the MAJ President Dr Andrew Manning says the resumption of travel to Jamaica is worrying. He says the Jamaican government should be concerned about the likelihood of spread of the Indian variant of COVID-19 which is present in the UK. Scientists say that variant is more present in the UK than in any other country outside of India.
“We have to be concerned. The fact of the matter is the more the virus spreads, the more chance you have to develop variants. We are doing relatively well now, certainly when compared to a few weeks ago. But we certainly are not out of the woods. We’ve seen how quickly things can change and we have to continue to be careful,” he said while on Nationwide News Radio.
But while Dr Manning sounds the alarm, President of Jamaica’s Hotel and Tourist Association, Clifton Reader says the country has no reason to be concerned. He said that he is confident that the island has enough COVID-19 protocols in place to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and the variants.
“So far, I think we’re seeing excellent results. I just believe with pre-testing and all the other measures we have in place, I think we can manage into the next winter season. Britain has its concerns and so do many other nations. I think the measures have in place and the willingness of our people
In December, Jamaica had confirmed the presence of the UK variant of COVID-19 on the island. Since then, that variant has been spreading among the population.
Reader has reminded visitors to Jamaica, including Jamaican nationals, that they have to present a negative COVID-19 test to come into the island. The ministry of health and wellness says that fully vaccinated visitors are not exempted from the safety protocols.