Jamaica: As coronavirus cases remain to increase islandwide, Prime Minister Andrew Holness of Jamaica has announced a raft of new containment measures for the next three weeks.
- The islandwide curfew remains at 8:00 pm to 5:00 am daily until March 22.
- Zoos, parks, gyms, attractions and bars will close at 6:00 pm.
- Only students who will sit exit examinations and those with special needs are to receive face-to-face instruction. This includes private schools. Nurseries and daycare centres are considered critical services and are to be kept open.
- Starting March 4, there must be a work from home arrangement in the public sector. Only employees who work in critical service delivery should be in the physical office locations.
- The private sector is encouraged to arrange their affairs in such a way as to facilitate their staff working from home.
- Where a member of staff has comorbidities, or has to take care of someone who is ill or otherwise challenged, that person should be allowed to work from home. This applies to both the public & private sector.
- The public gathering limit will remain at 10 people.
- In the public sector, no social events or ceremonies, unless virtual, are allowed to take place.
- As obtains for visitors, Jamaicans coming home from abroad will be required to present a negative coronavirus test, conducted inside 72 hours prior to their travel date, at the check-in to their flights. Accepted test types are PCR test, Nucleic Acid Amplification test (NAA), RNA or molecular test and Antigen test. Antibody tests will not be accepted and home-based test kits will not be accepted. Lab specifications can be found on visitjamaica.com.
- Business travellers, who were previously facilitated by the Government, will now be required to pay for their own PCR tests.
- Flights coming directly from the United Kingdom continue to be restricted.
- Effective March 8, funerals and burials will be prohibited. No burial orders will be issued. Funerals that were already scheduled up to March 7 may go ahead, under the current protocols.
- Churches are directed to engage in online services only. Ten members are permitted within the church space to manage the online programme.
- Weddings are allowed, except that the cap has now been halved to 25 people, including the bride, groom, pastor and the two witnesses.
- Public beaches are to be closed.
- The age has been adjusted from 65 to 60 years, for individuals required to stay at home.
Holness said the Government has utilised two triggers for action, taking strict action before when there was an increase in numbers …representing a spike, and now, using the second trigger, because the country is seeing an increase in the number of symptomatic persons requiring hospital care.
“This is a critical trigger and we have to shift policy efforts to ensuring that we can preserve every Jamaican’s life,” Holness said at a COVID press briefing this evening.
“Once the capacity of the health system becomes threatened, we could see a spike not only in the number infected, but also in those dying from the disease — this is, therefore, the critical fulcrum.”
Ramanjot Kaur is a dedicated journalist with a Master’s in Journalism and Mass Communication, specializing in economic and political news reporting with incisive analysis and integrity.