Mayor of Kingston Senator Delroy Williams took to Twitter on Thursday (March 5) to appease the latest coronavirus-induced hysteria after a video of a vessel in the Kingston Harbour triggered panic.
The 16-second video spread like wildfire on social media and instant messaging platforms as women in a building in the vicinity of the waterfront watched the incident nervously.
Urging calm, Mayor Williams tweeted that contrary to the rumours, the vessel is not a submarine but rather a lifeboat.
The lifeboat, Williams added, belonged to a ship that is currently anchored in the Kingston Harbour and the persons came ashore to collect much-needed supplies.
“There were no submarines in the Kingston Harbour. The lifeboat being circulated on social media is from a ship that was docked in the harbour. They were getting provisions to take back to the main vessel,” he said.
The video has been causing a stir since the women recording the clip surmised out of fear, that the persons were aboard a submarine and came into Kingston to spread the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
“Mi nah come out a di building!” a woman exclaimed. “Watch deh! See deh, see di getaway van deh a wait pon dem,” she continued.
Another chimed in, referring to COVID-19 “Oh rhatid! Jesas, dem gone spread it now.”
Laced with xenophobia, the women in the video claimed that due to the fairer-skinned nature of the people, the “submarine” was infected with the coronavirus, and intent on spreading the outbreak here in Jamaica.
The lifeboat, like the pictured in the mayor’s tweet, is the more modern, conventional JYN-65 models, which are electrically powered. It is not clear if the mother vessel has been sufficiently restocked.