Jamaica News: With flags waving and an impromptu singing of the National Anthem, 1,044 Jamaican ship workers returned home at the Falmouth Pier in Trelawny, on May 19.
Health officials from the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA) were on hand for the arrival of Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas.
The ship workers, while not able to start the disembarkation process until Thursday (May 21), made no secret of their relief to be home, bellowing screams of joy from the upper deck of the towering vessel.
“It was a very touching and, certainly, moving moment for all of us,” explained WRHA Director, Dennis Meadows.
“They (ship workers) were just happy to see us… happy to know that they are back on Jamaican soil… and demonstrated that by the impromptu singing of the National Anthem… the flag waving and the screams of joy,” he said.
Mr. Meadows said the workers have resigned themselves to the fact that they will disembark in batches of 200 every 48 to 72 hours, beginning on Thursday, and will be tested for the coronavirus (COVID-19) and transported to the Bahia Principe Hotel in St Ann to await their results.
He added that the Jewel Paradise Cove Hotel, also in St. Ann, will also be used as a quarantine facility if space becomes an issue at Bahia Principe.
“We are very happy to have our people back home, and the greatest thing is that they know it… as is evident by their reaction to us on arrival,” he said.
“They are also aware that this is a health and safety issue for everyone and that the main thing is that we continue to work together in the interest of Jamaica,” Mr. Meadows said.
For his part, Regional Director of the WRHA, Errol Greene, said that processing for the ship workers means “going through immigration and customs”, in addition to the necessary health checks, including the mandatory quarantine period.
Meanwhile, Portmore, St. Catherine resident, Joan Spence, who has three children, including “twin boys” on board the ship, said she is happy to know that they are back on Jamaican soil.
“They will be truly home when I get a chance to hug them and to cook for them. I haven’t seen them yet, but there is nothing but love and happiness in my heart…. Words are hard to find to describe this moment,” she added.
Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, told a virtual press conference on May 18 that ship workers who test positive for COVID-19 will go into State quarantine, while those who test negative will be allowed to quarantine at home for 14 days.
Persons in home quarantine will have their location tracked and must do video check-ins multiple times a day, the Prime Minister added.
Source: JIS News