JAMAICA | Lockdown Extended, Things under Control says Holness

JAMAICA | Lockdown Extended, Things under Control says Holness

KINGSTON, Jamaica September 2, 2021 - As the island continues to experience a tremendous spike in Covid cases as well as unprecedented hospitalizations, Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced an extension of the lockdown period and a continuation of the curfews in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.

As of Tuesday,  the island had recorded 68,482 cases of the virus with 1,549 deaths and 18,103 active cases and 712 hospitalizations with a positivity rate of 40.6%.

Holness told a media briefing on Wednesday evening that there was no need to panic, as the government had everything under control.

 “It is one thing that I don't ever do is to panic, and I don't think that Jamaica should panic. We have this situation under control, [even though] it is not a situation where we have all of the variables under control.

“It is a difficult time… and I know many people are panicking, many persons are distressed, and a lot of people don't know what to believe, what to think. But  as someone who was being interviewed today said, 'Now is not the time to panic,' ”declared Holness.

The  Prime Minister announced the extension of  no-movement days from this Sunday, September 5 to Tuesday, September 7. These no-movement days will resume on Sunday September 12 and extend to Tuesday September 14.

The daily curfews will be in effect from 7:00 pm to 5:00 am Mondays to Fridays and begin at 6:00 pm on Saturdays.

Responding to criticisms that his Administration yielded  to pressure  and opened up  the  entertainment industry, and other sectors of the economy, the prime minister  warned sectoral interests that he would no longer be bowing to their wishes.

“I think that after this episode there will have to be a greater balance and understanding that sectoral interest can't push the Government into decisions that affect the entire society," he said.

This is a democracy and this Government, more than anyone, listens to the people,” he told a COVID-19 virtual press briefing at Jamaica House yesterday.

“But, at the same time, we have powerful interests and when the consequences come you can't find anybody... It wasn't their fault. They didn't ask for it. They didn't play any role in it. They didn't keep what they use to keep. But, their voice was very loud in asking for, and protesting even, for us to reopen the economy,” he stated.

The prime minister said that the extension of tighter measures was not something that his Government wanted to do “because we know how the measures impact the livelihoods of our people. However, we really had no choice, given that our case numbers and hospitalisations remain unacceptably high.

“We are going through our most challenging period since the pandemic began. This is not a time for division and disunity. This is the time for all Jamaicans to come together to fight this virus. We all need to work together to get this third wave under control,” he urged.

“We now have sufficient vaccine supplies, with the commitment of further supplies to come. The sooner we bring the infection rate down, the sooner we will be able to lift some of the restrictions. I urge all Jamaicans who are eligible to take the vaccine,” he noted.

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