Thu | Nov 26, 2020

Breaches punch holes in Bull Bay quarantine zone

Published:Thursday | March 19, 2020 | 12:00 AMNickoy Wilson/Staff Reporter
Natalie Palmer of Shooters Hill is happy to receive a care package from Dr Christopher Tufton, minister of health and wellness, in the Seven Miles area of Bull Bay on Wednesday. Seven Miles and Eight Miles have been quarantined because the first COVID-19 patient had contact tracing in the area.

“It nuh make nuh sense.”

That’s the conclusion of Bull Bay resident Sophia Rhoden, who has characterised as a sieve the quarantine imposed on the communities of Seven Miles and Eight Miles since last Friday.

She echoed the sentiments of several residents who The Gleaner canvassed yesterday – five days after Prime Minister Andrew Holness declared the areas a quarantine zone for 14 days amid the local outbreak of COVID-19.

“Where I live, there is a shortcut behind my house. There’s one at the side, and all of them go right back up to Shooters Hill.

“They cut right back across and carry you straight back up to Eight Miles, so it makes no sense. All they need to do, take the longer shortcut out,” Rhoden said, indicating that this was just above the main checkpoint leading to the main road.

Dunstan Bryan, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, admitted yesterday that the authorities were relying on moral suasion while suggesting that the law could have tough consequences.

“The reason why we put quarantining into place is to protect you and to protect the entire society. So, therefore, as we move through this epidemic, we have to utilise different tools,” said Bryan at a Jamaica House press conference yesterday.

“Yes, we can use the big stick of the law, but what we want, more importantly, is moral suasion, and we want people to feel compliance is for their own good,” he added.

FOOD DELAY

One issue that may be forcing residents to use alternative routes to exit the quarantine area is that of food.

Since the quarantine was imposed nearly six days ago, 900 food packages have been handed out to the community that is home to at least 11,000 people, according to Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton. However, Tufton had said, a day earlier, that 15,000 people lived in the communities.

He said, however, that more was being done to increase the supply of food packages to the area.

“It is very understandable why some persons, even if they are not indigent, which would have been our first focus, over time, would require support ... ,” Tufton said.

“We, however, took the decision that we would increase the number of packages that would be delivered to the community. So now, we would make more available.”

Local COVID-19 update

- 2 more cases of COVID-19 confirmed, 9 test negative.

15 total cases.

- 6 more test results being awaited.

- 240 beds dedicated to COVID-19 patients.

- More than 60 ventilators to arrive in the island soon.