The Ministry of Health and Wellness has declared three communities in the northeastern parish of St Mary under quarantine on Thursday (May 7), as a countermeasure to a growing number of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases being confirmed this week.
Eyewitness reports, however, place a joint police-military presence in sections of St Mary as early as 11:00 pm, Wednesday (May 6), during which time roads were blocked and non-residents turned away from entering the parish.
To date, the parish has confirmed 13 cases of infection, and the quarantine order comes just days after Mayor of Port Maria Richard Creary called for sections of the parish to be placed on lockdown.
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Some 114,867 people live in St Mary, according to 2018 estimates provided by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN).
Here are a few things to know about Jamaica’s latest declared quarantine area:
Scope of the quarantine: Annotto Bay
- The quarantine covers three communities, Annotto Bay, Enfield and Dover, and will last an initial period of two weeks from 6:00 am Thursday, May 7, to 6:00 am, Thursday, May 21. Annotto Bay, a major town in St Mary, has an estimated population of 13,000 people.
The border of the quarantine zone in Annotto Bay, according to the stipulations of the Ministry of Health and Wellness, spans an area of 0.13 square kilometres and will be bounded by a 1.72-kilometre perimeter.
In the east, the boundary runs from a start point at the Pencar River Bridge (also called Top Bay) and heads north along the western edge of the Pencar River towards the coastline. In the north, the quarantine border runs west along the coastline for 0.8 kilometres to a point where a stream from the Pencar River meets the sea (known locally as Bottom Bay).
In the west, the border continues south following the stream to the bridge at Bottom Bay; and in the south, the boundary runs east along the Annotto Bay-Portland main road to the start point at the Pencar River Bridge (Top Bay).
Iter Boreale also included in sweeping quarantine
- The quarantine also spills over into Iter Boreale, a housing development located just east of Annotto Bay; it will cover an area of 1.1 square kilometres and be bounded by a 4.31-kilometre perimeter. While the exact population of the community is not known at this time, the boundaries are as follows:
The boundary is marked in the east by a start point along the Enfield Main Road and its junction with a minor road just 150 metres south of the North Coast Highway, heading north towards the coast for 530 metres. In the north, the border runs west along the coast for 1.64 kilometres.
According to the health ministry, the western edge of the border runs south-westerly for 230 metres to a point just south of the North Coast Highway; while in the south, the boundary runs east along the southern outskirts of the community to meet the start point at the Enfield Main Road.
- The Ministry of Health’s zone of interest for the Enfield quarantine is an area called Juno Pen, which spans 0.47 square kilometres and will be bounded by a 2.24-kilometre perimeter. Estimates for the population of this area were not available at the time of publishing, however, the boundaries are as follows:
The border begins in the east, marked at a point along the Enfield Main Road, just 230 metres north of the Juno Pen Bridge, and continues east for 40 metres before heading northwest for 1.33 kilometres. At the northern marker, the quarantine zone runs west for 370 metres across the Enfield Main Road to an open lot west of the thoroughfare.
In the west, the borderline heads south-westerly for 1.42 kilometres to a point just west of the starting point; there, at the southern end, the area is cordoned off heading east towards the start point.
Dover, on the fringes of the St Mary-Portland boundary
- In Dover, the ministry will be interested to restrict movement in an area that covers the community and neighbouring Ensom. The quarantine area spans 0.83 square kilometres and will be bounded by a 5.34-kilometre perimeter. The dimensions of the lockdown are detailed below:
At the start point, marked at east, the boundary runs from the intersection of the Dover-Portland Main Road and the St Mary-Portland parish border, north for 230 metres. In the north, the quarantine border runs west for 2.29 kilometres to the north-west boundary of a property directly north of the Dover-Portland Main Road.
The western edge of the Enfield border continues south-westerly for 1.42 kilometres to point just west of the starting point; and in the south, the boundary runs east to the start point at the Enfield Main Road.