Be smart, but go to work: ‘The economy must continue,’ PM Holness declares

Prime Minister Andrew Holness

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has declared that as Jamaica begins its national response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), all public- and private-sector interests must do their part to keep the economy afloat.

Holness, speaking at a press conference at Jamaica House on Thursday (March 12), was adamant that the country’s “economy must continue”.

“Absolutely, yes! The economy must continue… unless we reach a situation where there is unabated spread. But let me just be clear: we are not in [that kind of] situation,” the Prime Minister said.

Noting that the country is in the second phase of the COVID-19 crisis, Holness argued that it was the government’s duty to delay the disease’s arrival. Now, the mission is containment.

“It is here, and what we can confirm [it] is imported, we are trying now to trace from the confirmed imported cases to zone around [them] and then, we try to contain it,” Holness said.

In the meantime, Prime Minister Holness pleaded with Jamaicans to be smart and keep abreast of how they’re feeling, physically as the crisis progresses. He reiterated his caution to the public to refrain from mass hysteria and panic—which could possibly lead to the inundation of the health care system.

“If we work together in this smart way we can very much limit what is happening and ensure that we don’t have a crisis in [the] provision of health service because that is where the crisis could be and that is what we’re trying to avoid,” he contended. “We all must really exercise care in this situation. I know a lot of people are going to panic, there is no need. Follow the instructions that are given, think smartly, act wisely and we will contain this virus.”