Hanover hunting down St Catherine COVID-19 runaways
Anxious to maintain its status as one of the few parishes without any cases of COVID-19, the Hanover health authorities and the parish’s police have been mobilised to check certain areas and families in the parish, as information continues to circulate that persons have been taking in relatives who have fled St Catherine, which has emerged as the epicentre of the virus in Jamaica.
In an interview with The Gleaner yesterday, Dr Kaushal Singh, medical officer of health for Hanover, said information has come to their attention that persons from affected areas have been coming into the parish.
“I have that information from different parts of the parish. Yesterday, we got that information, so this morning we took the decision that our team is going to visit them and put them into home quarantine, as we are doing for persons who are coming from abroad,” said Singh.
“I have received three calls (from concerned citizens) but those information need to be confirmed, and as such, our team is out in the field right now,” added Singh.
Since the Government declared the lockdown of Portmore, reports have surfaced of caravan fleeing that area for other parts of Jamaica. Hanover, whose pristine record would suggest that it is a safe parish, appears to be one of the destinations being targeted. The Hanover Health Department is currently monitoring some 97 persons in the parish.
Ian Hayles, the member of parliament for Western Hanover, is fully supportive of the effort to track down, identify and isolate persons who may have entered the parish from an affected area. He is also calling on Hanover natives who might be thinking of running to the parish to stay away.
“I just want to appeal to you, you do not have to come back to Hanover right now, thus far we have zero cases in Hanover, and we are going to try our best to keep it that way,” said Hayles. “If you are in St Catherine and there is a lockdown, stay in St Catherine, speak to the family by phone.”
Gare Whittaker, president of the Hanover Chamber of Commerce, is appealing to residents of the parish not to endanger themselves by accommodating migrating family members or friends, especially from St Catherine.
“I do think that it is very prudent that people start to think wisely, and the first thing that should come to their minds is their own safety and the protection of their immediate family, so why would they want to run the risk of harbouring persons who are from those areas that are suspected to have the virus?” said Whittaker.