The first 200 of the 1,044 Jamaican ship workers disembarked the Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas, docked at the Falmouth Pier in Trelawny, on Thursday, May 21.

The men and women underwent various stages of screening and processing by the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA), and the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA), after which they were taken to the Bahia Principe Hotel in St Annto await their test results.  The other workers will be processed in a similar manner.

Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, who was on hand to greet the ship workers, noted that the process went without delay and exceeded his expectations.         

“We were able to process the 200 persons that we targeted for today very smoothly, on time and, indeed, within a shorter time than we anticipated,” the Minister said.

“The planning was well executed and, as a consequence, there is a possibility that we could speed the process up,” he added.

Dr. Tufton outlined that if tests come back with positive results of the coronavirus (COVID-19), those individuals will be dealt with in the public health system, in isolation. However, for those who test negative, they will be sent for home quarantine.

He said the JamCovid19 App, which was developed through a public-privatepartnership and is available on Android and iOS devices, will then be used to track them for the next two weeks.

 “At the end of that process, they will be tested again, and subject to a negative test, then they will be allowed to reintegrate in a normal way,” Dr. Tufton pointed out.

“So, the process has gone well. We had an opportunity to speak with the Captain and the other leadership of the vessel and all reports from those persons indicate that things went extremely smoothly and they are very grateful to the Government. The Jamaicans that are on the vessel seem to be also quite pleased with what is happening [and] are patiently waiting to allow the time and the procedure to take its course,” he added.

For his part, Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, lauded the WRHA, as well as the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), PICA and Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA), for supporting the day’s activities.

He said it is imperative that the Government bring Jamaicans home safely and without incident.

“We closed the border [but] we still have a responsibility to them, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade has taken on this role with energy that is unequal in keeping in touch with the relevant countries,” Dr. Chang pointed out.

He said there are more Jamaicans abroad on cruise ships and in other countries that have yet to come home. 

“We are keeping in touch and moving as fast as we can, but while we move to bring in everybody, we have to be careful we don’t restart a process that overwhelms the Health Ministry. The Ministry officials have really extended themselves. The teams have worked hard; you see them here still smiling and going at it efficiently,” Dr. Chang said.