Prime Minister Andrew Holness this afternoon announced various measures restricting movement of people amid the rising number of confirmed cases of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
They include new curfew hours for some parishes and a ban on motorcades.
Prime Minister Holness said a tighter curfew will be imposed in St. Catherine, Clarendon, and Kingston and St. Andrew.
It will start tomorrow (August 22) and end on September 2 – the eve of the island’s General Election.
Prime Minister Holness said the curfew will run daily from 7PM to 5AM, adding that taxi operators will be allowed an extra hour before and after the curfew.
The curfew previously started at 11PM.
Furthermore, the prime minister announced that election motorcades with more than two Coaster buses will be prohibited, adding that the permitted buses should only carry political workers maintaining social distance.
The political parties, however, will be allowed drive-throughs without stopping or greeting people. Those can involve cars with no more than four passengers each.
“There should be no stopping at any point,” the prime minister emphasized while noting that breaches may result in more drastic measures.
He said a maximum five people will be allowed to do door-to-door campaigning together.
The prime minister added that an exemption will be made to allow political parties to host meetings after curfew hours. However, those meetings will not be used for campaigning – only for organizational purposes. They should also observe social distancing and other protocols.
The prime minister noted that his administration already discussed campaign-related measures with the other major political party.
Prime Minister Holness, in the meantime, said he will move to ban funerals and conventions at churches in St. Catherine, Clarendon, and Kingston and St. Andrew.
He said burials will be allowed to take place with a maximum 15 people observing social distancing and other measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The government is also considering whether to delay the reopening of schools.
The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Jamaica currently stands at 1,290.
The island yesterday announced a whopping 98 additional cases, which prompted the Cabinet to meet today and to create stricter measures.
In relation to the relatively large jump in the numbers, the island’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Jacquiline Bisasor-Mckenzie, today indicated that the rise is linked to increased activities carried out over the Independence holiday.
She said: “What we are seeing now is most likely due to an increase in movement and gatherings in the first week of August because, if you look at the time-frame, you would realize we are just about one incubation period outside of that period. Now, already we are seeing where at least 16 of the confirmed cases are arising out of parties and nightclub activities.”
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