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More Caribbean islands bar travelers from Ebola-stricken countries

Last Updated on Friday, 17 October 2014, 23:41 by GxMedia

San Juan, Oct 17 (EFE).- Each day more Caribbean islands join the list of countries closing their doors to visitors from Ebola-stricken countries in West Africa.

Jamaica, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Antigua and Barbuda have already established entry restrictions for passengers from certain African countries.

Other islands are studying similar measures after concluding that their hospitals and medical personnel are not prepared to cope with Ebola, which has killed nearly 4,500 people in West Africa.

The National Security Ministry of Jamaica said Friday that passengers from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone will be not allowed to enter the island.

The restriction includes Jamaicans returning home after visits to those nations.

“CARICOM nationals benefitting from the free movement regime are also subject to this landing restriction, which is a temporary measure necessary for the protection of human and animal health,” the ministry said in a statement.

Also this week, Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller told members of her Cabinet to reduce their foreign travel and to stay away entirely from the countries most affected by Ebola.

Guyana’s health minister, Bheri Ramsaran, announced his government’s decision to ban nationals from Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.

Trinidad and Tobago will exclude people from those four countries and from the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Trinidad Express reported Friday.

The Trinidadian government is contemplating spending more than $3.2 million bio-containment unit to isolate any Ebola-infected person or persons arriving in the country.

This week, Trinidad’s immigration authorities turned away a cargo ship from the United Kingdom because the vessel had made recent stops in West Africa.

Grenada is mulling the imposition of restrictions on travelers from Africa.

Although the Turks and Caicos government has not issued any official restrictions, it announced Friday that immigration and health officials will put in quarantine any person coming from West Africa.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ prime minister, Ralph Gonsalves, said his country imposed a ban because “we didn’t consider that we had the infrastructure, necessarily, to deal with an onrush of people if they were to come from any of those West African countries,” according to a report in the Jamaica Observer.

That same argument has been echoed by other member-states of the Caribbean Community.

Next Monday, several CARICOM members – Dominica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia and Antigua and Barbuda – will come together at an extraordinary Ebola summit of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of America, known by the Spanish acronym ALBA.