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Jamaica imposing travel ban on T&T

Published:Tuesday | May 4, 2021 | 12:29 AM
Dr Keith Rowley
Dr Keith Rowley

Jamaica has served notice of its plans to restrict travel from Trinidad and Tobago following a new spike in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and the discovery of the troublesome Brazilian variant there.

That country’s Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley made the disclosure during a press conference in Port-of-Spain on Monday, announcing new domestic restrictions aimed at combating the spread of COVID-19 with the country’s healthcare system on the brink of collapse.

Data from the Ministry of Health show that there have been 241 new cases of the virus, bringing total active infections to 2,536.

Overall, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member state has recorded 11,513 positive cases and 174 deaths since the first case was diagnosed there in March last year.

Epidemiologist Dr Avery Hinds on Monday warned that if Trinidad and Tobago continued to record new COVID-19 infections at the current rate, the country could see upwards of 10,000 active cases by May 22.

Hinds told reporters that based on an “alarming rate of cases”, there has been a 35 per cent positivity rate, and the country could see its parallel healthcare system reach maximum capacity in seven to 10 days.

Against that backdrop, Rowley, who is the current CARICOM chairman, revealed that his Jamaican counterpart Andrew Holness had paid him the “courtesy” of informing him on Sunday of the planned travel ban.

“Sometime today [Monday], Jamaica will put Trinidad and Tobago on a restriction list of countries from which persons cannot travel, largely because of our acknowledgement that we have the P1 virus [Brazilian variant] here,” Rowley said.