KINGSTON, JAMAICA — In light of new testing requirements by both the Canadian and U.S. governments, Jamaica has announced a special task force to ramp up the island’s COVID-19 testing capacity.
The news was announced by Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett, who’ll be leading the task force.
“This task force will work along with the Ministry of Health and Wellness and tourism stakeholders, both within the public and private sectors, to boost Jamaica’s capacity to facilitate wide-scale COVID-19 testing for visitors to the island,” he said. “We will also undertake extensive consultation with our local and international tourism partners to develop and introduce innovative solutions to effectively address this challenge.”
The task force will be comprised of the following members: Clifton Reader, President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA); Nicola Madden-Greig, First Vice President of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) and former President of the JHTA; Ian Dear, Chairman of the Tourism Product Development Company (TPDCo); Adam Stewart, Deputy Chairman of the Sandals Group and Chairman of the Tourism Linkages Network Council; John Byles, Executive Director of Chukka Caribbean Adventures and Chairman of the COVID-19 resilient corridor management team; and Delano Seiveright, Senior Advisor and Strategist in the Ministry of Tourism.
On the collaborative efforts of the task force, Bartlett said: “This unified approach has proven to be very effective in managing the pandemic to date, and has been crucial to our success in introducing our COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols that have been endorsed by the World Travel and Tourism Council, as well as our COVID-Resilient Corridors. I am therefore confident that working in collaboration with our stakeholders, we will be successful.”
The news comes just two days after the CDC announced a mandatory negative COVID-19 test for all air passengers entering the United States, effective Jan. 26. Canada made a similar announcement last month, on Dec. 30, giving travellers just a week’s notice to acquire a negative test prior to arriving in Canada.