Total Lockdown: Government outlines new restriction laws to contain the spread of coronavirus

The government of Jamaica will be implementing laws that will restrict movement to contain the spread of the coronavirus-COVID-19.

These laws will go into effect on Wednesday, March 18, 2020. The restrictions will last for seven days but will be reviewed after five days.

The announcement was made by Prime Minister Andrew Holness at a press conference on Monday. Under the Disaster Risk Management Act, the government took these measures.

Prime Minister, Andrew Holness

All travellers from countries where there is local transmission of coronavirus will now be required to self-quarantine for 14 days. 

All non-essential work will be required to be done from home, in both the public and private sector.

Hospital visits will be reduced to once per day and to one person, and patient clinics in hospitals will be scaled down.

The government will also be instituting a new restriction for public gathering. There will be no gathering in any public space of over 20 persons.

Bars will be closed, nightclubs and other areas of entertainment will also be closed.

The Prime Minister is encouraging persons to limit the attendance of funerals to close family members. He is also appealing to churches to practice worshipping at home during this time.

He conceded that restaurants and cook shops can be opened, but patrons should maintain social distance and accommodate no more than 20 persons.

“We are treating supermarkets, corner shops, and pharmacies as essentials, but we ask they respect the restriction, no gathering of more than 20 and if you have that many people, maintain social distance,” he said.

Adding that markets will be opened from 6 am to 2 pm.

The JUTC and Montego Bay Metro will be required to only carry passengers seated. And taxis are required to carry one fewer passenger than they are licensed to do.

“It is not the intention of the government to shut down the economy, we have to keep the economy going. What we are trying to do, is to institute the measures which we believe will allow social distancing to contain the spread of coronavirus,” the Prime Minister said.  

Adding that failure to adhere to these restrictions will amount to a fine of one million dollars or 12 months in prison.