US issues Level 3 travel advisory for Jamaica

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The US Embassy said the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued the Level 3 Travel Health Notice for Jamaica, due to COVID-19 to its citizens traveling to Jamaica.

The embassy also advised that effective January 26, all airline passengers to the United States aged two years and older must provide a negative COVID-19 viral test result that was done within three calendar days of travel.

Travelers to the US may provide documentation from a licensed healthcare provider of having recovered from COVID-19 within 90 days preceding travel.

The Embassy’s website on Friday stated – “Reconsider travel to Jamaica due to health and safety measures and COVID-related conditions. Exercise increased caution in Jamaica due to crime. Some areas have increased risk.”

“Jamaica has resumed most transportation options, (including airport operations and re-opening of borders) and business operations. Other improved conditions have been reported within Jamaica,” the advisory also stated.

Jamaica to date has recorded 14,772 coronavirus cases, with 2,413 of the cases being still active. A total of 11,850 persons have recovered from the virus, while 336 COVID-19 patients have died.

This new advisory comes just as the new Joe Biden administration on Thursday signed an executive order outlining new rules for travel to the US in its fight against the coronavirus, which has so far claimed more than 400,000 lives there.

Everyone flying to the United States from another country will need to test before they get on that plane, before they depart, and quarantine when they arrive in America.



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Snow storm to bring 2 to 5 inches to state; Winter weather advisory issued for Western, Central Massachusetts

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If you haven’t already, it’s time to bust out those winter boots.

The Bay State is expected to be hit by a light winter storm Tuesday through Wednesday that should dump as much as 2 to 5 inches of snow across the commonwealth, impacting Western and Central Massachusetts the harshest, according to forecasters.

The storm will barrel through the state starting Tuesday afternoon and evening. By the time the light precipitation event winds down Wednesday morning, between 3 and 4 inches of snow will have fallen throughout the Berkshires, the Pioneer Valley and Worcester County, the National Weather Service said.

A pocket of roughly 5 inches of snow is forecast in northern Berkshire County near North Adams, the weather service noted.

Around 2 inches of snow is expected across much of Eastern Massachusetts, though Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket and areas around the tip of Cape Cod should see closer to an inch or less, according to officials.

The weather service warned of a 4- to 6-hour window where there is around a 30 to 40% chance of snow falling at a rate of more than an inch per hour, possibly coinciding with part of the Tuesday evening commute and leading to roads being briefly blanketed by the precipitation.

A winter weather advisory has been issued for Western and Central Massachusetts, where forecasters caution the snowy weather could cause hazardous driving conditions.

“Plan on slippery road conditions. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning or evening commute,” the weather service said. “Slow down and use caution while traveling.”

In terms of timing, snow should start falling in Western Massachusetts as early as 2 p.m. Tuesday, spread to Worcester County by 4 or 5 p.m. and then hit the eastern half of the state by around 6 p.m., eventually expanding to the Cape and other coastal areas by roughly 7 p.m., according to forecasters.

Much of the snow will fall Tuesday night. The precipitation will then taper off Wednesday, ending between 7 and 10 a.m. across nearly all of Massachusetts, officials said.

Meteorologists are anticipating another round of much lighter precipitation in the wake of Tuesday and Wednesday’s snowfall.

According to the weather service, the second round of precipitation Wednesday will be more of an ocean-effect snow and should impact mainly Eastern Massachusetts as far west as the Interstate 95 corridor.

“With the snow intensity modest at best after the possible initial burst and spread out over 24 hours, travel impacts should be limited,” the agency said. “Moreover, temperatures are expected to warm to above-freezing by mid to late morning south and east of the I-95 corridor in MA and RI, so precipitation will probably mix with or even change over to rain, further cutting down the potential snow accumulation.”

The light precipitation will likely be followed by the coldest temperatures of the year later this week, according to forecasters. Lows Friday night are expected to drop to 15 degrees on the Cape, 11 degrees in Boston, 7 degrees in Worcester and 6 degrees in Springfield.

There is a possibility of another winter storm hitting Massachusetts over the weekend, with a more significant amount of snow and wintry mix possible late Sunday into early next week, officials said. The forecast is subject to change more than 72 hours out.

“Way too early for details, but needs to be watched,” the weather service said about Sunday’s potential wintry weather event.

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Amtrak issues travel advisory, halts some Virginia routes ahead of Inauguration Day

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Amtrak has issued a travel advisory in Washington D.C. ahead of Inauguration Day.

Amtrak will continue to operate service as scheduled, except for some services in Virginia, KTLA sister station WAVY reports.

There will be no Northeast Regional service south of Washington D.C., including all Virginia stations on Tuesday and Wednesday,  Jan. 19 and 20. The Carolinian, which travels between Charlotte and New York City, will only operate between Raleigh and Charlotte.

Amtrak says they are taking extra steps to ensure the safety of employees and customers in Washington and across the nation after the violent attacks on the U.S. Capitol.

Detours, as well as pedestrian and traffic patterns, have been put in place around Washington Union Station, which will require more time for people to get to the station.

“After last week’s violent attack on the U.S. Capitol,  we are taking extra steps to continue ensuring the safety of our employees and customers in Washington DC and across our network as we prepare for the Inauguration,” Amtrak officials said.

In addition to limiting ticket sales and requiring masks to be worn at all times, officials are increasing police enforcement to ensure strong compliance, remove non-complying customers, and ban those that don’t follow Amtrak’s policies.

This includes, according to Amtrak, deploying additional Amtrak Police officers on board trains and in stations to support frontline staff, and utilizing additional support from TSA and partner law enforcement agencies.

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