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Samuda counts over 22,000 applications to travel to Jamaica since May


More than 22,000 applications to travel to Jamaica have been received through two portals registering requests from Jamaicans returning home and visitors since May, according to state minister for national security, Senator Matthew Samuda.

In a comprehensive statement to the Senate Friday on the controlled entry programme being monitored by the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) and the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Senator Samuda noted that 19312 Jamaican residents and 2,700 visitors had applied to enter Jamaica.

“As at close of business yesterday [Thursday], 6,898 persons had returned to Jamaica and been landed since the start of the controlled re-entry programme. We have 13,846 persons approved for travel in the Jamcovid system, and 976 persons who have registered but not yet completed the application process,” he stated.

He also noted that several foreign nationals had been rejected, based on the risk assessment of the health team. The assessment for Jamaicans determines their quarantine arrangements as opposed to whether they can travel.

Senator Samuda said that to manage the process, the Government launched a website and app dubbed Jamcovid. It is hosted by the office of the prime minister, and facilitates an application process which brings together critical information for the Passport, Immigration Citizenship Agency (PICA) and the Ministry of Health and Wellness, allowing for a risk assessment to be done before travel is approved.

“It also allows for the tracking of persons during their quarantine period, regardless of where they are under quarantine. This system has also now been introduced through visitjamaica.com, which allows non-residents to apply there,” the senator explained.

“The process and the questions for residents and non-residents are the same and, although they are two separate portals, the information is housed and risk assessment done in the same place,” he added.

He acknowledged the input of the Amber Group, which donated time and skill sets to build the system, as well as a team at Itelbpo who he said provided, free of cost so far, the call centre support that guided people through the process.

Samuda said that, in terms of the application process, anyone seeking entry must go to the portal — residents go to Jamcovid and non-residents/visitors go to visitjamaica.com. They fill out an application, which asks questions that would be asked on a C5 form when entering Jamaica normally, as well as questions related to their exposure and current health condition, as required by MOHW.

Questions related to suitability for home quarantine are also asked. When persons have completed the process, their applications are reviewed by PICA and MOHW for approval.

When approved, they are issued a certificate of approval digitally. The certificate is mandatory for persons to check in on flights coming to Jamaica. This requirement has been accepted by IATA and is disseminated to airlines through their Timatic System. As such, persons are asked by all airlines to provide this approval before they are allowed to check in on any flight in Jamaica.

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