Health Minister, Dr. Christopher Tufton, says the arrival and quarantine of passengers from the United Kingdom has gone smoothly.
Dr. Tufton says the approximately three hundred persons have been well taken care of.

The group forms the last inbound flight from the United Kingdom after the Jamaican government put in place a travel ban on the country.

The ban is in place due to concerns in relation to a new, highly contagious variant of COVID-19 that was identified in Britain.

However, Dr. Tufton says local health officials were not caught off guard by the discovery.

The three hundred passengers will be kept in state quarantine for 48 hours while they undergo testing.

Dr. Tufton says the first batch of results should come in before the end of the day. He also says the new variant has not yet been identified in Jamaica.

Dr. Christopher Tufton, Minister of Health and Wellness.

Meanwhile, UK North Representative for the Global Jamaica Diaspora Council, Dr. Kevin Brown, says he supports the decision by Jamaican authorities to close its borders to those coming from the UK.

He says unfortunately several Jamaicans in the UK will have to cancel their travel plans to return home for Christmas.

Dr. Brown also says quite a few members of  the Jamaican Diaspora in the UK have been affected by COVID-19.

Dr. Kevin Brown, UK North Representative for the Global Jamaica Diaspora Council.

In the meantime, Several disgruntled Jamaicans coming from the United Kingdom got angry yesterday after being told mid-flight that they’d have to quarantine at a government facility for 48 hours on arrival.

An expletive-laced, minute-long video of the disgruntled passengers has been circulating on social media.

The disgruntled passengers can be heard telling the flight attendants they were opposed to being quarantined for two days at the government facility in St. Ann.

Passengers on board a flight from the UK yesterday.

All the passengers have been quarantined with some results expected later today.

The Ministry says passengers who test negative will be fitted with armbands for monitoring and released to complete their 14-day quarantine at home.

Those who test positive will remain isolated in state facilities until they’ve recovered.

Opposition Concerns

In the meantime, Shadow Spokesman on Health, Dr. Morais Guy, says the Opposition would prefer if the just over 300 passengers who arrived from the United Kingdom are quarantined for five days instead of the two being enforced by the government.

Dr Guy says there are some concerns about the persons who arrived in the country yesterday at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston.

He’s describing the new strain of the coronavirus that has been identified in sections of England as a super spreader.

Yesterday, the government announced an immediate ban on flights coming from the UK.

Dr. Guy says it’s important that the passengers from the UK are given a PCR test and not an antigen test.

When asked if the government should have implemented an earlier ban on UK travel, the Opposition Spokesman on Health said he will not criticize the actions of the government.

Dr. Morais Guy, Opposition Spokesman.