You have never been forgotten — Holness tells cruise ship workers as he outlines strong quarantine protocols

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You have never been forgotten — Holness tells cruise ship workers as he outlines strong quarantine protocols

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Prime Minister Andrew Holness this evening in a message to the cruise ship workers who arrived at the Falmouth Pier in Trelwany aboard the Royal Caribbean's Adventure of the Seas vessel that they have never been forgotten.

This, Holness stressed as he outlined strong protocols for the quarantine of the 1044 Jamaicans.

“Be assured that without fanfare, we have always been diligently working to getyou home,” Holness said in his statement.

“It is important for you to note that we have been in discussions with the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line from as far back as April 21 when we wrote exploring ways for your return. The cruise line has been very cooperative. However, cruise ships all over the world have had outbreaks and even deaths. Therefore, we have had to agree on strong protocols and make detailed preparations for your safe and convenient re-entry, and to protect the public health for your families locally,” the prime minister assured the Jamaicans.

Holness noted that those currently on board the Adventure of the Seas vessel are among close to 2,000 Jamaican seafarers who want to make their way home, and almost 9,000 Jamaicans in 88 countries who have already applied on the JAMCOVID app to return home.

Read the prime minister's outline of the quarantine protocols and updates to the returning residents below:

“Because we agreed with the ship owners to get you here as quickly as possible, the ship will be alongside for refuelling and re-stocking today May 19 and tomorrow May 20, so that this does not compromise the sterile area needed for the disembarking and testing process.

The parish medical officer will board and declare the ship a quarantine area – this is for legal reasons, and we know you understand that ships operate under special laws.

We will phase your disembarkation for testing. After your sample is taken, you will be transported to a quarantine facility at which point your 14-day quarantine period will begin. It may take approximately three days to receive your test results. Once your test is negative, you will be allowed to complete the remainder of the 14-day quarantine period at home. If your test is positive, you may be required to remain in a state isolation facility until you have been cleared by the health authorities.

Please use the time prior to disembarkation to update your home address details to facilitate home quarantine as well as to complete the immigration and customs C5 form online.

I also want to use this opportunity to tell you about some of the changes you will find at home since the pandemic. Jamaica has done well so far with the disease. Today is the second consecutive day with no new cases. This has been because of strong measures, enforcement and the discipline and responsibility that the Jamaican people have shown. Where persons break the law, there are strict penalties including fines as high as $1 million and up to six months in prison. These are not normal times.We are working hard to keep everyone safe.

You will notice I started with my mask. Masks are now mandatory in public spaces – everyone has to wear a mask. I hope you are wearing yours already!

We have limits on the number of persons who can gather in public spaces – no more than 10.

Beaches, rivers, waterfalls, clubs and places of amusement are all closed.There is an all island curfew in place.

We just started limited re-opening of bars and churches, but they have very restrictive protocols and limited hours.

Our seniors, everyone over 65 must stay home except to leave once per day for the essentials of life – this is because the virus is most deadly to the elderly, and people who have co-morbidities such as heart problems, diabetes, obesity, asthma and other respiratory problems.

So when you go home to complete your quarantine, please take it seriously.Not enough is known about the virus, so even if you feel fine, it is best to be careful. During your quarantine, give your mother, father, grandmother or other elderly relatives a call, tell them how much you love them but try not to interact with them physically. Better safe than sorry.

I know you have not seen your spouses, your significant others, your children, friends for a long time and you are anxious to do so. And even though you may have tested negative, there is still a risk of infection. So please faithfully wait out the incubation period of 14 days.

As part of the home quarantine protocol, you will be required to download the JAMCOVID app if you have not done so already and to keep your phone charged.This is going to be the monitoring tool that allows you to quarantine at home.You will be required to submit video check-ins periodically during the day.

I know these things sound heavy, they sound strict and you just want to be home.I will say it again; these are not normal times. So in the interests of your health, the health of your families and communities, the

wellbeing of our public health system, our public health officers, our doctors and nurses, our security forces and all other frontline workers, please take seriously the responsibility that comes with coming home during this pandemic.”

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