Mon | May 25, 2020

COVID curfew - Seven-night all-island lockdown starts tomorrow

Published:Tuesday | March 31, 2020 | 12:28 AMEdmond Campbell/Senior Staff Reporter
A man in the distance takes a stroll by the intersection of Central and South avenues in central Kingston on Monday. The Government has announced a seven-night curfew starting April 1.
A man in the distance takes a stroll by the intersection of Central and South avenues in central Kingston on Monday. The Government has announced a seven-night curfew starting April 1.

Starting tomorrow, Jamaicans will be under an all-island curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. to slow down the spread of COVID-19, which has killed one person locally, with another 35 infected with the virus. It will last for seven days.

Members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force have been given clear instructions to enforce the stipulated restrictions.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who made the announcement yesterday evening at Jamaica House, said that restrictions would be imposed on public transportation and all movement except for persons working in the essential services.

The curfew appears to coincide with an urgent call by the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) to all its members on leave overseas to immediately contact their brigade.

The message was posted on Twitter, but the JDF did not say why the soldiers should make immediate contact.

In the meantime, the JDF also said that it would be suspending all recruitment until further advised.

Special provisions for Critical sectors

The prime minister said that special provisions will be made for persons who work in other critical sectors such as the business process outsourcing sector. The categories of persons to be exempt will be published today in the Jamaica Gazette.

“We ask everyone to make the necessary arrangements in their daily affairs to ensure that they can be off the road,” Holness said during yesterday’s digital press conference.

The prime minister encouraged Jamaicans to obey the lawful orders of the police during the curfew.

At the same time, Holness said that the police would increase their vigilance against people who continue to breach the orders.

He observed that Jamaicans were still having parties and social gatherings, as well as funerals, apparently ignoring the threat of COVID-19, which has killed nearly 38,000 people and infected more than 780,000.

Holness also warned against persons who disseminate fake news to create public mischief and cause panic in the society.

Yesterday, Chief Medical Officer Dr Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie reported that the health worker who tested positive was a registered nurse.

The nurse, who has been described as a diligent worker, is said to be doing well and is being given the best possible treatment.

The so-called Patient Five was the first person declared fully recovered from COVID-19.

Moreover, the opening hours for markets have been extended. Markets will now close at 6 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays – four hours longer than the 2 p.m. shut-off on other days.

edmond.campbell@gleanerjm.com