Home Latest News Government of Jamaica sets aside $7 billion for COVID-19

Government of Jamaica sets aside $7 billion for COVID-19

Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr Nigel Clarke, 2020/21 Budget Debate in the House of Representative [Photo:JIS photograpger]

KINGSTON, Jamaica, (JIS) – The second case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Jamaica within two days, both COVID-19 cases involve people who travelled to the United Kingdom, amid travel restrictions for China, Italy, South Korea, Singapore, Iran, Spain, France, and Germany.

The government of Jamaica has since allocated $7 billion in contingency funding towards tackling the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), minister of finance and the public service, Dr Nigel Clarke, announcement at the opening the 2020/21 budget debate in the House of Representatives on March 11.

Dr Clarke said the funds will provide for any contingency “as necessary, to protect the Jamaican people from the health and economic impact. This is a contingency; it is preparation”.

“The government is prepared should the need arise… and affecting the use of this contingency will require a supplementary budget to be submitted and passed by parliament,” Dr Clarke said. “We hope the situation does not deteriorate to the extent that the contingency will be required, but if it does, we are prepared. We are in a much stronger position today to withstand global shocks than we have ever been before,” he said.

Meanwhile, minister of tourism, Edmund Bartlett, has called for players in the global tourism industry to come together to protect the multibillion-dollar sector against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

“The call is a global alliance where tourism and governments will have to now come into a symbiotic relationship to respond effectively to this global pandemic,” he said.

“Tourism is a key economic driver, in Jamaica, contributing about 10 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), and over 58 percent of foreign exchange earnings”, said Bartlett, “the country earned US$3.7 billion from the sector in 2019.”

“At risk are the jobs of 435 million persons across the globe and earnings of US$31 billion in the Caribbean last year. With COVID-19 detected in about 120 countries to date,” Bartlett noted, “the virus has the capacity to severely impact tourism.”

This article draws on JIS reports from Latonya Linton and Garfield L. Angus



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