At least two business leaders in the country are warning against halting the re-opening of the economy as a response to the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

The latest variant of the virus has been spreading through parts of Southern Africa and Europe, with several countries imposing restrictions on entering their borders.

The United States today confirmed its first case of the variant.

With fears rising that Omicron will soon be detected in Jamaica, the business leaders say the Jamaican economy cannot afford to be locked again.

Wayne Walker more in this report.

On Wednesday morning the country’s Director of Family Health Services, Dr. Melody Ennis, told our news centre it’s only a matter of time before the Omicron variant arrives in Jamaica.

The new variant has triggered international concerns, as it is thought to be highly transmissible.

With a vaccination rate of just over 20 per cent, there are fears that Jamaica is particularly vulnerable to a fourth wave of transmission.

But President of the Micro Small and Medium Size Enterprise, MSME, Alliance, Donovan Wignall, says it would be a mistake to halt Jamaica’s economic re-opening.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has suggested the country is moving beyond the stage of lock downs in response to the pandemic.

But with mounting uncertainty surrounding the variant, fears persists as to how the government will respond.

For his part, Michael Lecky, says small businesses are concerns that the new variant could trigger panic in government circles.

Lecky heads the Small Business Association of Jamaica.

The government has so far restricted travel from several African countries.

The prime minister is expected to come back to the country with updated Covid-19 measures in a few days.

Meanwhile, the Jamaica Teachers Association, JTA, is urging the government to ramp up the country’s vaccination rate and continue the phased resumption of face-to-face classes.

The JTA’s comments come as almost 400 additional primary schools are slated to reopen their doors, as the Omicron variant of Covid-19 continues to spread across the world.

President of the JTA, Winston Smith, says the resumption of education must remain a top priority.

Mr. Smith says Jamaican must begin to recognise that only a high rate of vaccination will prepare the country for new variants.

He says the government must redouble its efforts in getting vaccines in arms.

Winston Smith, JTA President.

He was speaking with Nationwide News on Wednesday.