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Canadians advised against traveling to Jamaica

The Government of Canada has issued a warning to Canadians traveling to Jamaica.

If you're heading there, "exercise a high degree of caution due to the high level of violent crime," stated a spokesperson for the Public Health Agency of Canada.

The Jamaican Prime Minister, Andrew Holness declared a public state of emergency on Thursday in the parish of St. James, which includes Montego Bay.

“Crime and violence in particular murders have been escalating in the parish of St. James. I have been advised by the security forces in writing that the level of criminal activity experience continued and threatened, is of such a nature and so extensive in scale as to endanger public safety”, said Holness.

In 2017, 335 murders were recorded in St. James - that's twice the number of any other parish.

Security forces will be able to search places of homes and business without a warrant.

Jamaica is also one of several countries affected with Zika - a virus spread by mosquitos.

While the infection may only last a few days, the symptoms can include fever, headache, skin rash, as well as joint and muscle pain.

Zika can also cause serious birth defects, including abnormally small heads, known as microcephaly, brain damage, as well as vision and hearing loss.

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