National Disaster Committee to discuss coronavirus today

Prime Minister Andrew Holness will be meeting with the National Disaster Committee on Thursday (March 5) as the Government takes proactive measures to deal with the threat of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

PM Andrew Holness (right) shakes hands with Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) Chairman Dr Wayne Henry at the ceremony to break ground for the Port Royal Coastal Revetment Project in downtown Kingston Tuesday. Sharing in the moment is JSIF Managing Director Omar Sweeney.  

The multi-agency committee, chaired by the prime minister, brings together all stakeholders for national disaster response. Holness said that among the outcomes of the meeting will be the establishment of a subcommittee “that will deal with the day-to-day management of any eventuality that may occur regarding COVID-19”.

Holness, who was speaking at the ceremony to break ground for the Port Royal Coastal Revetment Project in downtown Kingston on Tuesday (March 3), indicated that the Government is in a state of preparedness for the virus.

‘If the unwanted happens, we have put in place all the measures we can.’

—PM Holness

“It appears that [the virus] is travelling right across the world now and it is within the [Caribbean] region now. It is in the Dominican Republic. It is in St. Martin. The reality is, people are moving and the virus basically follows the pattern of movement of people,” he noted. “If the unwanted happens, we have put in place all the measures we can, including alerting the Ministry of Finance [and the Public Service] of a possible budgetary spend where that may become necessary.”

He added: “We have done all that we think is appropriately possible at our official ports, including our cruise ship entries, at our airports and we have put in place travel restrictions as we assess the situation.”