Dr Christopher Tufton (FILE)
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Kingston – The Jamaica government has warned it is prepared to implement stricter measures to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) after the island recorded 30 new cases over a 24-hour period, pushing the total to date to 958.
“I’ve always said that if the situation warrants it, then we will have to extend existing or implement new restrictive measures. We have spent a lot of time and effort and resources on moral suasion, asking you the citizens, appealing to your good conscience and your reasonableness, to observe the protocols. With what is happening now, I think we are at the limit in moral suasion,” Prime Minister Andrew Holness said.
Minister of Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton said the island’s COVID-19 numbers are increasing.
“The public health team is working hard on testing and contact tracing, as well as on keeping the public informed of the developments with the pandemic. Our doctors and nurses are caring for those who are ill. However, we cannot, on our own, defeat COVID-19.
“We need the people of Jamaica and the visitors to the island to do their part by abiding by quarantine orders and practicing infection prevention and control measures – from maintaining the six-feet physical distance from others to frequently washing hands, sanitizing commonly used surfaces and wearing masks,” he said in a statement.
Holness said consequent on the recent uptick in cases, the COVID-19 Sub-committee met on Thursday and had decided to institute stricter measures for churches, funerals, the entertainment sector, and beaches, details of which he said will announced shortly.
“So, where we are now is that we’re going to move into a different phase of the management of the pandemic, that is strict enforcement because it is now clear to us that, despite our best efforts and despite the best efforts of the majority of Jamaicans, as my grandmother said to me when I was a child, ‘If you [can’t] hear, you will feel’,” he added.
Holness said of the new cases recorded, 26 are new samples while four are part of the backlog. Nineteen are females and 11 are males, with ages ranging from six to 87 years.
He said as of Wednesday, “we have had 40 persons hospitalized including suspected positive cases of COVID-19".
“We’ve also had 10 persons isolated in a Government facility, 79 isolated at home, two quarantined in a government facility, and 23,449 persons quarantined at home,” Holness said.
The government said of the near 1 000 positive cases, 352 are imported, 278 are contacts of confirmed cases, 62 are local transmission cases not epidemiologically linked, 236 are related to the workplace cluster in St Catherine, and 30 are under investigation. (CMC)