PM Holness declares curfew for Corporate Area amid alarming COVID spike

Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness. (Photo: JIS)

As the Ministry of Health and Wellness confirmed 98 new cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Jamaica, Prime Minister Andrew Holness has declared a change to the curfew hours in the capital Kingston and neighbouring parishes.

At a press conference on Friday (August 21), Holness indicated that the reviewed nightly curfew is geared towards halting mass movement and further curbing the spread of COVID-19 in the parishes of Kingston, St Andrew, Clarendon and St Catherine.

Effective Saturday, August 22, the daily curfew hours in these parishes have been moved to 7:00 pm to 5:00 am. Prime Minister Holness remarked that the new curfew will remain until Wednesday, September 2.

The Jamaican Prime Minister further assured members of the public that while the spike in cases is a cause for concern, there is no immediate need to panic. This, he explained, was expected as the country completed a phased reopening of its international borders as well as the local economy.

“Yes, it is a cause for serious concern but there is absolutely no need to panic. You will recall, in previous press conferences, that we expect there will be increases in our numbers – particularly, as a result of the reopening of our borders and the reopening of our economy towards its full operating capacity,” Holness noted.

“We’ve also said, now we’re in the phase of managing risks; and we have done a very good job, we are transitioning into the phase of living with the coronavirus,” he added.

He warned, however, against the seemingly widespread sense of complacency.

In the meantime, public gatherings within the affected parishes remain limited while funerals, church conventions and other civic activities have been outright suspended.

Burials, Holness explained, will be allowed to continue, however, the 15-person limit will be strictly enforced.

Prime Minister Holness said that political motorcades in the conventional sense, have been prohibited beyond two buses. Political drive-throughs will be allowed provided submissions by both the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and the People’s National Party (PNP) are given to the respective police divisions and approved. No stopping will be permitted, Holness added.

On Thursday night (August 20), Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton confirmed 98 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the national tally in Jamaica to 1,290.

The number of active COVID cases now stands at 416, one critically ill and eight moderately ill patients included, according to Minister Tufton.

Additionally, the passing of a 74-year-old male Clarendon native leaves the death toll at 15; while another 16 patients have successfully overcome the infectious disease, pushing the number of recoveries to 788.