Friday, January 22, 2021

Stranded Jamaicans crash government’s online portal with applications to get back home

Jamaicans stranded overseas amid the COVID-19 pandemic can now qualify to return home by applying through an online portal under the Government’s programme of controlled re-entry.
Foreign Affairs Minister Kamina Johnson Smith said that those who opted to return to the island must agree to a mandatory 14-day quarantine.Johnson Smith said that the new protocols will be executed in a phased system, underscoring that the Government did not have the resources to charter flights or to pay for the return of nationals.
“Persons will therefore be responsible for making their own arrangements for travel, taking into consideration the limited availability of flights,” Johnson Smith said at a press conference at Jamaica House.
“We have started informing the airlines of our protocols for controlled re-entry and advising them that nationals who still hold tickets for their airlines will now be seeking to rebook once they have received the travel authorisation through our new online portal (,” she further stated.
Johnson Smith noted that the re-entry process is accessible on the COVID-19 website or on the new mobile application.
“When you go on that website, you click on immigration and you will see a form that asks you to sign in with your email,” Johnson Smith said.
Minutes after the announcement, the website went down under a flood of subscribers.
In fact, later on in the briefing, Johnson Smith informed that the website received 100,000 hits per second, which triggered an automatic shutdown of the system as it went into self-protection mode.
The minister noted that the process will require personal and health information, which will be shared with public-health officials.
Johnson Smith said that once an application has been submitted, individuals will either receive, within three days, conditional approval or be asked to answer additional questions.
Airlines will not accept bookings until individuals have received a travel authorisation certificate, which is issued at the end of the process.

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