Mon | Dec 6, 2021

PM calls off multi-day lockdowns

Published:Thursday | September 16, 2021 | 12:12 AMEdmond Campbell/Senior Staff Reporter
Prime Minister Andrew Holness gestures during his presentation at the sitting of the House of Representatives in Kingston on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness gestures during his presentation at the sitting of the House of Representatives in Kingston on Wednesday.

The Government has shifted its strategy from weekday lockdowns going forward and has returned to nightly curfews as a more sustained measure to keep businesses afloat while curtailing the spread of COVID-19.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness said there would have to be a “significant event in terms of a massive outbreak” to merit a return to the multi-day lockdowns.

“The Government is now at a stage where it cannot apply these blanket measures, these very crude measures, because it is like using a hammer to try and solve the problem of trying to kill a fly,” Holness declared in a statement to the House of Representatives on Wednesday.

Holness said that the Government would consult with other stakeholders to determine an acceptable time frame for curfews.

Effective September 18 to October 28, curfew hours from Monday to Friday have been adjusted from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. nightly until 5 a.m. the following day.

Curfew starts at 6 p.m. on Saturdays and is lifted at 5 a.m. on Monday, with Sunday being a lockdown day.

The prime minister told his parliamentary colleagues that other measures under the Disaster Risk Management Act would remain in place.

The limit on persons attending church services remains at 20. Wedding ceremonies are also restricted to 20 persons.

Only 20 family members, mourners, and clergy can attend funeral services.

Burials are allowed from Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with only 15 persons involved.

Turning to the Government’s vaccination programme, the prime minister conceded that the resources in the public sector were inadequate to carry out the exercise efficiently.

He announced, therefore, that the Government would be engaging the services of the private health sector to administer vaccines.

Holness said that the administration would pay the private entity per person vaccinated.

At the same time, the administration is preparing to launch a national call for health personnel to administer the jab.

Jamaican health workers locally and abroad are being invited to participate in the exercise.

To date, 208,169 people have been fully vaccinated, representing seven per cent of the population.

As at Tuesday, Jamaica had recorded 77,497 infections since the coronavirus was first detected here in March 2020.

There have been 1,757 related deaths.

edmond.campbell@gleanerjm.com