MORE RELIEF – Travel Quarantine Ends, Funeral Numbers Up, Curfew Relaxed

Prime Minister Andrew Holness yesterday announced a further relaxation of the coronavirus (COVID-19) containment measures.

The revised measures, which include changes of nightly curfew hours and elimination of some travel-related requirements, are based on declines in the COVID-19 indicators, particularly infections and hospitalisations.

The new measures are effective for a three-week period, from Friday (February 25) to March 17.

Holness, at a virtual press briefing, stated that, following Cabinet deliberations, the nightly curfews will run from mid-night to 5AM.

The maximum number of persons allowed to physically attend funerals and burials will increase to 100 and that number include mourners, clergy and any other support personnel. Burials are permitted only between 9AM and 5PM, Mondays to Fridays.

In addition, up to 100 persons can attend events hosted by public-sector entities, and 100 persons may be physically present at weddings and annual general meetings of companies.

Holness also disclosed that, effective Tuesday, March 1, Jamaica will abolish the requirement for persons to obtain a travel authorisation through its JamCOVID and Visit Jamaica platforms.

“However, we are, at this time, maintaining the existing pre-test requirement for a negative PCR or antigen test conducted within three days prior to travel. We are aware that obtaining pre-tests is becoming more difficult and expensive in some jurisdictions. We are, therefore, reviewing whether we should maintain this requirement or modify it,” the prime minister added.

Travel-related quarantine requirements will also be eliminated, effective March 1. “I hasten to add that we are still strongly recommending that persons limit their movements for at least five days after returning from travel,” Holness said.

He also urged persons who have travelled to distance themselves from those who are most at risk. “So, when you have return from your travel, please cautiously entertain your family members or visit your elderly parents. I also want to emphasise that isolation requirements remain in effect for persons who test positive for COVID-19,” the prime minister pointed out.

Regarding the entertainment sector, which still faces restrictions, Holness said an announcement will be made shortly.

According to him, the government’s main aim at this time is to facilitate the return of children to face-to-face classes after the mid-term holidays.

Holness noted that, while there is a high level of fatigue in the society, the objective is to get the nation’s children safely back in school. “We have to be very careful at this period in time not to open up too much. So, we all have to still exercise caution and patience [and] give the children the priority to get back into school.”

The prime minister added that, at the end of three weeks, it is quite likely that the Government will bring the measures to an end.


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