Wiredja Online News Logo

WiredJa Online News

Wiredja Online News Logo

WiredJa Online News

JAMAICA | Holness announces new measures to tackle COVID-19 spread

  • Written by wiredja.com news team
  • Published in Health
Featured Prime Minister Andrew Holness Prime Minister Andrew Holness
KINGSTON, March 21, 2021 - In response to the dramatic spike in Jamaica’s COVID-19 infection rate over the past few days, prime minister Andrew Holness has announced a raft of new measures aimed at  curtailing what appears to be a runaway increase in the infection rate across the island.

In making his announcement, The prime minister pointed out that Based on the latest report from this morning, Jamaica recorded 673 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday. Our cumulative cases of COVID-19 are now 35,338 with 16,130 of that number recovered. Our recovery rate is now 45.6%. The number of active cases, that is the number of persons who still have the virus, is 18,426.”

Holness pointed out that “yesterday, we had 673 positive cases out of 3,027 samples tested which is a test positivity rate of 22.2%. The public sector test positivity rate which is based on the more reliable PCR tests was however 36.7%.

He lamented that “unfortunately, 533 persons have died due to the pandemic; the case fatality rate is 1.5%. There have been deaths in every age group, however, 3.7% of those who contract the disease in the age group 60 – 69 have died and they account for 21.2% of all deaths. 7.1% of persons who contract the disease in the age group 70-79 have died and they account for 24.6% of all deaths. 11.6% of those who contract the disease in the age group 80 – 89 have died and they account for 19.5% of all deaths. I offer my sincere condolences to the family of all who have lost a loved one. While our case fatality rate remains below the global average, the number of deaths is increasing,” Holness declared.

He said it was against this background, and the need to restrict movement even further, except for essential activities, the following changes will be effected:

  1. From Tuesday, March 23 to Friday, March 26, the nightly curfew hours will remain at 8:00 pm to 5:00 am, ending at 5:00 am on Saturday, March 27.
  2. On Saturday, March 27, the curfew begins at 12:00 noon, to end at 5:00 am on Monday, March 29. There should be no movement on Sunday, March 28.
  3. On Friday, March 26, workplaces will be required to close at noon, except for essential services like medical establishments, supermarkets, wholesale stores, pharmacies, restaurants and other food establishments, which will remain open up to the regular curfew time at 8:00 pm.
  4. From Monday, March 29 to Wednesday, March 31, the curfew returns to 8:00 pm to 5:00 am. 
  5. On Thursday, April 1, Holy Thursday, workplaces will be required to close at noon, except for essential services. There should be no movement on Good Friday. 
  6. On Saturday, April 3, the curfew begins at noon, and continues Easter Sunday and Monday, to end at 5:00 am on April 6.
  7. On Tuesday, April 6, the curfew will commence at 8:00 pm nightly to 5:00 am the following morning ending at 5:00 am on Saturday, April 10.
  8. On Friday, April 9, 2021, workplaces will be required to close at 12 noon to facilitate persons to conduct their shopping to prepare for the tighter weekend curfew.
  9. On Saturday, April 10, the curfew will begin at 12:00 noon and continue through the entire day on Sunday and end at 5:00 am on Monday, April 12. 

Despite the extended curfew hours, we want the vaccination programme to continue. Certain vaccination sites will remain open during curfew hours and on no movement days. Persons with appointments to receive a vaccine will be allowed to do so during curfew hours. Persons will be required to present evidence of the appointment (text message or email) to the police.

On no movement days, persons will be allowed to seek urgent medical care and those who have overseas travel plans can make their way to or from the airport. Essential services will still be operational (and in this group I include our fisherfolk, farmers and the media) but I remind those persons employed to essential services who must move on the no movement days to ensure you have your work ID to present to the police.

Controlled Entry Protocols:

The existing protocols including the requirement for all travellers to present a negative COVID test conducted within three days of travel will be extended to June 30, 2021.

The pre-testing requirement does not mean that travellers do not need to quarantine for 14 days after arrival. The 14-day self quarantine period still applies and it is extremely important that persons do so.

The existing ban on direct flights from the UK will be extended to April 13, 2021. Travellers from the UK coming through other countries will be required to test on arrival and await the test results in state quarantine at their own cost. 

If the test is negative, they will be required to complete the rest of their 14-day quarantine period at home. If the test is positive, they will remain in isolation until they recover.

The existing work from home directive in the public sector is being extended until April 13, 2021. As a reminder, the Permanent Secretaries and Heads of Agencies are directed to ensure that only persons who work in critical service delivery and perform job functions that require them to be at the physical location should be at the office.

For the private sector, employers should allow all persons who can work from home to do so. Employees may still request to work from home in circumstances where they have an underlying illness which is not under control or where they can make no alternative arrangements to care for a child, elderly or ill family member or someone who has a disability.

Employers are not to require employees who have COVID-19 symptoms to report to work.

Gathering Limit: The public gathering limit will remain at 10 persons until April 13, 2021.

Schools: There should be no face-to-face instruction in all primary and secondary schools (public and independent) until April 13, 2021. Students are to be instructed using other modalities. and for clarity note that this includes students who are to sit exit examinations.

Funeral Services: Funeral services will still not be allowed during the period ending April 13, 2021.

Burials: The existing restrictions on funerals and burials will continue until Tuesday, March 23, 2021. As of Wednesday, March 24, 2021 until April 13, 2021, burials will be allowed Mondays to Fridays only during the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Only 10 mourners will be allowed and an additional 5 persons can be present who comprise officiating clergy, grave diggers and undertakers. The time for conducting the burial is not to be longer than 30 minutes. Note that no burials will be allowed on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

  • Countries: Jamaica