Jamaica faces objection from airlines for mandatory COVID tests for tourists

Radio Jamaica has reported the Jamaican government faced objections from airlines and the regional tourist association to have mandatory coronavirus testing for tourists, the news source said.

Robin Russell, Chairman of the Montego Bay Chapter of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) said he sought to explain the rationale behind the government´s decision not to make coronavirus testing mandatory when Jamaica´s borders reopen to international travellers on June 15.

Jamaicans entering up to June 14 will have to undergo testing.

Jamaica´s minister of health has warned Jamaicans to brace for a spike in coronavirus cases in light of the easing of restrictions.

JHTA has recommended testing of tourists to the government and encouraged it to discuss the matter with airlines. Following talks between the government and airlines, the JHTA was told the airlines did not have the capacity to do it.

After that, he said the JHTA lobbied its Caribbean counterpart, the Caribbean Hotel and Tourist Association (CHTA), but was again denied and was told that group did not require the testing of tourists. He noted that the World Health Organization (WHO) had also said it did not see the testing of tourists as plausible.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness said insufficient equipment formed part of the decision to allow for voluntary testing for tourists.