Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, the minister of health and wellness, gave the workers of the Jamaica hotel and tourist association over 5,000 covid-19 at-home testing kits. These kits were distributed at the Montego bay convention centre in Rose hall, St. James on Thursday, December 30, 2021.

Tufton expressed that it is imperative that tourism workers be given the opportunity to conduct self-testing, because of their exposure.

Dr Tufton explains that “The Government views the tourism sector as a very important part of our economic fabric. It is in keeping with balancing lives and livelihoods, [and] we appreciate and understand the importance of ensuring sustainability and continuity in the sector.”

“We also understand the risks given the need for the sector to survive based on the comings and goings, and therefore the approach in targeting tourism workers in the initial stage justifies itself, based on its importance and also balancing those risks involved in the tourists who come in,” he stated.

Tufton explains that self-testing can be helpful in persons deciding whether they need to see a doctor or just self-isolate. He also stated that the government intends to have these self-test kits available commercially for every Jamaican.

“These kits, once approval is granted to be imported, are not going to be distributed by any specialised entity. We can and hope that these kits will be available in the marketplace, widely distributed through pharmacies and other distribution outlets so they can be purchased over the counter,” explains the minister.

“The most important things are that they have to be Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or World Health Organization (WHO) approved and that persons who use them, use them correctly. The Ministry of Health and Wellness is going to engage in a public education programme to assist in providing information around usage, to ensure that persons get the best results from these kits,” states the health minister.

The health ministry was thanked for the donation by the president of the Jamaica hotel and tourist association, Clifton Reader.

Reader noted that the kits are going to help tremendously in the screening for Covid-19.