Mon | Jan 18, 2021

PM discontinues traditional campaign activities, as COVID-19 cases rise

Published:Sunday | August 23, 2020 | 12:00 AM
Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) supporters in Central Manchester yesterday flouting COVID-19 guidelines, as they show support for their candidate Rhoda Crawford while awaiting a JLP motorcade, led by Prime Minister Andrew Holness, dubbed a 'drive through'. Holness has announced that he has discontinued traditional campaigning activities given the risks related to COVID-19.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has discontinued traditional campaign activities for the remainder of the election period.

The revelation comes as the country had a new one-day record of COVID-19 cases. One hundred and sixteen new cases were confirmed by the Ministry of Health and Wellness earlier this evening, bringing the total number of cases since March 10 to 1,529. 

Speaking during a virtual press conference this evening, Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton said the prime minister will also be asking other members of the Jamaica Labour Party to follow his lead. 

"What that would mean is that persons would be engaged in the administrative component of preparing for an election day activity, but the traditional approach to meetings and motorcades and so on, the prime minister has indicated that he will, as of today, not be engaging in those activities and that, of course, I believe will send a strong message hopefully to the rest of the country- both to the supporters of the political party that he heads, but also to others" Tufton said. 

He noted that although all political parties had initially agreed to a set of campaign protocols with electoral officials, tighter restrictions were agreed in subsequent consultations with the opposition and other stakeholders. 

"The issue is not just a self-imposed restriction, it is certainly characterised by consultations and the public health team normally weighs in on that and provides advise based on what we think is the best approach given the potential health risk," he said. 

"And for now the advise is, as being said, that we should minimise the interactions while still preserving the democratic process without anyone feeling unfairly untreated," he said. 

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