Fri | Oct 23, 2020

Letter of the Day | Flaws in controlled re-entry programme

Published:Tuesday | September 29, 2020 | 12:09 AM


I am writing as a concerned citizen regarding my recent travel experience. On August 13, 2020, I travelled to Florida on business and spent two weeks there. Prior to my return, being very aware of the new travel policies, I had a COVID -19 (PCR) test on August 18. After obtaining a negative result, I applied for travel authorisation for Jamaica through the Jam-COVID website. I received approval in 24 hours, and so I then proceeded to make travel arrangements in addition to downloading the Jam-COVID mobile app on my telephone.

My travel arrangements were made for August 27, 2020. Upon arrival at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, there were appropriate hand-sanitising stations, temperature checks, and like other incoming passengers, I was also required to undergo a health screening and risk assessment after a long wait in line. After the interview, I was sent to speak with another agent, who instructed me to access my email on my mobile phone to obtain a copy of the approval letter, which contained a reference number. I also had a printed copy of the letter in my possession.

Unfortunately, and very surprisingly, the reference number that had been previously computer-generated came up as being “invalid”. As a result, I was instructed to go to another table to speak with another agent, who took and wrote down my home address, telephone number, and emergency contact information. I was also given a Novel coronavirus signs and symptoms detection log and was instructed to quarantine at home and log my temperature twice daily and to log any pertinent symptoms for the next 14 days.

Due to my Bible-trained conscience, and the love for myself and fellow citizens, I fully complied with the instructions and requirements. Needless to say, I have completed the required quarantine days with a date of discharge on September 10, 2020. It has now been a month since I returned from Florida, and I have not once received a telephone call or a visit from any healthcare personnel for follow-up. I still have the signs and symptoms log in my possession.

It is commendable that the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW) has put in place policies with the goal of decreasing the number of positively infected cases, flattening the curve, and, ultimately, saving innocent lives.

In my opinion, these policies are ineffective because they are not being followed, adhered to, and reinforced. We are still in a global pandemic. We cannot let our guard down at our borders or in our local communities because lives are at stake.