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No trade-off between health, economy – Holness

Published:Friday | May 15, 2020 | 12:30 AM
Prime Minister Andrew Holness.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness.


As Jamaica prepares to reopen its tourism sector, Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the country will require a “health profile understanding” of international travellers.

“Information is what is important. ... That process itself helps the visitor to be aware of the protocols that they would have to follow,” he told CNN’s Quest Means Business host Richard Quest yesterday afternoon.

Referencing a Thursday Gleaner article, Quest asked about a COVID-19 ‘passport’, which could see airline and cruise-ship visitors to Jamaica presenting a medical certificate, no older than 76 hours, clearing them of infection. That is one of several proposals being studied by a tourism task force.

Holness emphasised that it was important that the country know the COVID-19 status of travellers “to ensure we can cater to any needs those risk profiles would throw up”.

However, the prime minister said that although tourism was the island’s number one foreign exchange earner, the health and safety of the Jamaican people was a priority.

He argued that there would be no trade-off between the health and economy of Jamaicans.

“I don’t see the two as mutually exclusive. You need healthy people to make the economy work. And a working economy gives you healthy people. So for us, as a Government, we are ensuring we balance these two critical areas,” said Holness.

Jamaica could lose close to US$3 billion in revenue as a result of the coronavirus fallout.