Prime Minister Andrew Holness said persons who came into the island after March 18 and have not reported to the health ministry will be charged, adding that they won’t be able to leave the island until they face prosecution.
Thousands of people have not heeded Government’s appeal for them to report to the health ministry and formally quarantine in an effort to minimize the spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
“We will now, as we find persons, charge them and we will also – where required or as necessary – place them into State quarantine… You will not be able to leave the island and we will tighten our dragnet to find you,” the prime minister declared at a press conference a short while ago.
He said it pains his heart to see that authorities will have to use resources to conduct door-to-door searches, and to prosecute people who could have reported via even simple telephone calls.
Prime Minister Holness said the people who have not reported are in violation of the Disaster Risk Management Act, and can be fined up to $1 million or be imprisoned for up to a year.
He explained that many of the COVID-19 cases now being discovered are linked to people who entered the island within the aforementioned period.
“Most of the cases that we are seeing now are cases that have come into the island during the period that I have mentioned; that is between the 18th of March and the 24th. The other cases are related to them,” the prime minister explained.
“The potential for spread [of COVID-19] and exponential spread is now directly related to that population that came into the island [after March 18].”
The health ministry said about 4,500 people have not reported.
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