State of emergency declared in Jamaica

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Authorities in Jamaica have declared a State of Public Emergency in the Parish of St James – an area which includes the popular tourist area of Montego Bay. The Jamaican military has entered the area in order to try to combat the rising crime levels.

The Parish has a murder rate twice as high as any other Parish in Jamaica, and authorities have said that since the start of the year, the ‘general unlawfulness’ of the area has intensified. Other holiday resorts in Negril and Ocho Rios are not affected by the State of Emergency, however, most holiday makers arrive and leave from the airport in Montego Bay.

The UK Foreign Office has issued new travel advice to those UK travellers in the area. In it tourists are told to remain in their hotels or holiday complexes, and are advised to only leave when travelling to or from the airport. It also tells travellers to only use transport organised by their accommodation.

Canadian Authorities have also issued a safety warning to possible travellers to the Parish of St James, also telling travellers to restrict movements and to be ‘extremely vigilant’.

The Association of British Travel Insurers (ABTA) told UK newspaper The Independent: “If anyone does not follow FCO advice and is injured, and needs emergency medical treatment, then this would be covered. Of course, the golden rule is to take reasonable care at all times, which is what your travel insurer will expect you to do.”