The Health Ministry says some 302 passengers, who arrived on a flight from the UK last evening are now in state quarantine for a minimum of 48 hours.

Minister without Portfolio in the National Security Ministry, Senator Mathew Samuda, was on hand to welcome the new arrivals last evening.

He explains that the government has escalated prevention measures at the nation’s airports to prevent an outbreak of a new strain of the coronavirus.

The new variant has been found to be 70 per cent more infectious than the original strain of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

According to Minister Samuda, The passengers will be sampled and will have to await their COVID-19 test result.

Minister Samuda says the group will be quarantined at a hotel until their results are received.

Mathew Samuda, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of National Security.

Meantime, the Ministry of Health says it will be working with the various airlines to support the repatriation of UK residents, who are in the island and wish to return to the UK.

Cargo flights from the UK are also exempted from this current travel ban.

The Ministry has been further advised that the two other flights expected to arrive in country today, have been cancelled.

Meanwhile…President of the Medical Association of Jamaica MAJ, Dr Andrew Manning says the organization supports the ban on people travelling from the United Kingdom to Jamaica.

Dr. Manning explained that there are still some uncertainties about the new strain of the coronavirus.

Dr. Manning says the available vaccines should be effective against the new strain of the coronavirus:

But, he says it’s too early to draw certain conclusions about the new variant of the virus.

Meanwhile, Dr. Manning says existing COVID-19 tests should be able to detect the new variant of the virus as a coronavirus.

But, he says the tests being used locally might not be able to distinguish between the novel coronavirus and this new strain.

Dr Andrew Manning, President of the Medical Association of Jamaica, speaking yesterday on Nationwide@5 with Cliff Hughes and Tyrone Reid.