Prime Minister Andrew Holness has declared all of Jamaica to be a disaster area under the Disaster Risk Management Act.
This is in response to the eight confirmed coronavirus cases in Jamaica.
Under this measure, the government has taken the decision to quarantine the Seven Miles and Eight Miles communities in Bull Bay, St Andrew.
“What that means is that we will call on the other agencies of government, the security forces, Ministry of Labour and other agencies to work with the communities in a way that would minimize movement outside of the communities, and give all the necessary support to communities during that period,” said Minister of Health, Dr Christopher Tufton. He was speaking at a press conference on Friday.
The quarantine will last for 14 days.
More details soon.
Eight persons in quarantine showing symptoms of coronavirus
Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton said the decision was taken to quarantine the Seven Miles and Eight Miles communities based on the level of exposure to the virus.
” Up to today, based on the activities in the field, determined that based on all the information that we have, and persons experiencing symptoms, there has been some amount of community exposure, sufficient to raise risk level to a community transmission potential,” he said.
In other words, there were a number of persons who were showing signs and symptoms that suggested that they were ill or are becoming ill, and it could be related to that original individual,” he added
According to the Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie, there are 30 persons in the communities that have had contact with patient zero. And eight of those 30 persons are showing symptoms of the coronavirus.
“And what that translated to was that we needed to contain the spread in that vicinity, and hence the decision that we needed to quarantine that Seven to Eight Mile Bull Bay community,” Dr Tufton continued.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Andrew Holness added that the security forces from both the Jamaica Constabulary Force and the Jamaica Defence Force have been deployed to the communities, and that movement in and out of the communities will be restricted.
He also informed that the security personnel are appropriately geared.
He said the Ministry of Health will be supplying food packages, water, and medicine to the communities. The Prime Minister was quick to point out that this quarantine arrangement will not be treated like a curfew.
“We don’t want the citizens there to feel that the state is imposing a security Corden on them. This is for their own benefits as well as for the rest of Jamaica’s benefit,” he said.