Sun | Oct 25, 2020

Fleeing lockdown families caught out west

Published:Friday | April 17, 2020 | 12:20 AMHopeton Bucknor/Gleaner Writer


More than a dozen family members who fled Portmore to avoid a COVID-19 lockdown St Catherine and sought refuge in Hanover and St James are now being quarantined in state facilities in western Jamaica.

Special teams from the Ministry of Health and Wellness and the Area One police rounded them up between Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning and placed them in protective custody.

According to reports, residents of Jarrett Terrace, Montego Bay; and Sandy Bay and Montpelier in Hanover contacted their local health department after they noticed several family members moving into their neighbourhood in the aftermath of the announcement by Prime Minister Andrew Holness that St Catherine would be placed on a lockdown to blunt the spread of the new coronavirus.

The medical officers of health in both parishes solicited the support of the police and visited the two locations in operations mounted over the past two days. A number of persons from St Catherine addresses were identified and picked up.

On Jarrett Terrace, a 40-year-old woman; a 38-year-old male store manager; two children - aged eight and 13, all from Lime Tree Grove in St Catherine, were taken into state custody alongside a 62-year-old homeowner, and transported to a quarantine centre at Rose Hall on the outskirts of Montego Bay.

Over in the Sandy Bay-Montpelier area, a woman from St Catherine and other members of a household were picked up and taken to a quarantine centre in the Hanover parish capital, Lucea.

Dr Marcia Johnson-Campbell, chief medical officer for St James, confirmed that persons were picked up in the parish, tested, and placed under quarantine.

“I can acknowledge that we have been getting a lot of calls of persons moving into the parish from St Catherine after the lockdown was announced by the prime minister,” Johnson-Campbell told The Gleaner.

Dr Kaushal Singh, medical officer for Hanover, said that his team, which was still in the field late yesterday afternoon, also received reports about persons moving into the parish from St Catherine.

“Our team went to the community, where we would have tested a female and other members of a household for symptoms of the COVID-19,” Singh said.

“So far, we have no reason to believe that these persons have been infected, but based on the protocols of the health ministry, the individuals were placed under home quarantine.”