Wed | Oct 28, 2020

Jamaica heightens COVID response after 307 cases, two deaths in a week

Published:Sunday | August 23, 2020 | 12:00 AM

It's been a busy week for the health sector in Jamaica, which was forced back into imposing stricter measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, after the country recorded 307 positive cases from August 16 to 22, including two deaths. 

The dead are a 69 year-old woman from Manchester and a 74-year-old man, the Ministry of Health and Wellness had confirmed.  

On August 20, the country recorded its highest one-day total since the confirmation of its first case on March 10, with 98 cases reported and one death. 

Last night, a further 67 cases were confirmed and the country is currently managing 508 active cases of the disease, with five persons deemed moderately ill and four in critical condition. 

Chief Medical Officer, Dr  Jaquiline Bisasor McKenzie had said that activities during the Emancipation and Independence holidays were likely the cause for the upsurge in cases. The prime minister acknowledged that the government had not imposed tighter measures during the holidays to reduce growing uneasiness among the population. 

“We began to see where many persons in the society were exhibiting the signs of fatigue and so we allowed a period, not for breaching but for a kind of normalcy to return,” he said at a press conference on Friday.  

The upsurge in COVID-19 cases now comes as the country's two main political parties heighten campaigning to win over electors ahead of general elections on September 3, but they are struggling to enforce the rules to manage the spread of the infectious disease among excited supporters. 

In response to the upsurge last week, the government, on Thursday, added Albion and Seaforth in St Thomas to the number of communities under quarantine, and extended the quarantine periods for Sandy Bay in Clarendon and Church Corner in St Thomas to September 2. 

Curfew hours were also increased, starting yesterday, for Clarendon, St Thomas and the Corporate Area, where several communities have also recorded positive cases. Lock down now begins from 7:00 p.m. and ends at 5:00 a.m. the following morning and will remain in place until September 2.  

Jamaica has had a total of 1,413 cases of the disease since March. Eight hundred and seventeen people have recovered. 

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