(CMR) Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness moments ago announced that due to an increase in movement of citizens over the weekend, his cabinet has decided to implement an all-island curfew to attempt to curtail the spread of the coronavirus.
The country was informed of the decision shortly before 7:00 pm this evening during his government address. It will start with effect on Wednesday, April 1 and run for an initial period of one week. This means there will be restrictions on public transportation and all movements except where exempted.
“We have gotten reports from right across the island, and it is clear that whilst there was a fairly high level of compliance in the various orders that were made over the last two weeks that, over the last weekend we recognized that there is an increase in movement,”
This increase in movement, Holness said has come at a time when the country is expecting a greater probability for infection. As a result, the Prime Minister said that he and the cabinet while considering the island's economy decided that it was necessary to implement an all-island curfew.
He noted that the curfew would be published in the Gazette, noting that exemptions would be made for critical staff. According to the prime minister, the curfew will run from 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 am daily. Markets will now open from 6 a.m to 6 p.m on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays instead of 6 a.m to 2 p.m. However, the opening hours for the other days will remain at 6 a.m to 2 p.m.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jacquiline Bisasor McKenzie shared:
“I want to really caution the population that this is the time when we have to be extra vigilant. With 36 confirmed cases, we have potential to have more. Based on projection, we could have a doubling of cases every eight days.”
Additionally, persons who came into the island between March 18 and 23 must report to the Health Ministry via the website jamcovid19.moh.gov.jm or call 888-ONE-LOVE.
Prior to this latest development, Jamaica had implemented a lockdown in some areas such as Bull Bay but had not opted to implement a curfew, as citizens were relatively compliant with orders. Jamaica now has 36 confirmed cases included a health care worker.