Jamaica has warned Britain it will be guilty of “vaccine politics” and unfair discrimination if it bans travel to the island nation next month.
Edmund Bartlett, its tourism minister, said the UK’s new “traffic light” system for travel was “unfair” to small nations like Jamaica that had not had access to Covid vaccines.
The system for determining whether foreign travel bans are lifted from May 17 is based on countries’ vaccination rates, the prevalence of Covid and its variants and capacity for accurate testing to track the spread of the virus.
But speaking at the World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit in Cancun, Mexico, Mr Bartlett said it was a recipe for global unfairness and “disruption” and urged the UK to honour its historic Commonwealth links by sharing its vaccine supplies with Jamaica and other poorer nations.
“We lack the resources to access vaccines. I fear that vaccine politics is going to militate against smaller, poorer countries that cannot afford to have it,” said Mr Bartlett.
He said 10 countries had cornered more than 70 per cent of all vaccines and were innoculating their populations at five times the rate of the rest of the world.
“That’s a serious problem in terms of equity and a serious problem in terms of how the distribution of fairness goes in the global space,” he said.
“If you then put in divisions, categories and travel advisories developed on the basis of whether countries are fully, partially or not vaccinated,