Trouble in the West: Tufton warns of lockdown amid COVID-19 increases

A doubling of coronavirus cases in Jamaica’s western end has put the possibility of increased restrictions back on the table.

Minister of Heath Dr Christopher Tufton

The warning was given by Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton during a parliamentary update yesterday, December 8.

According to Tufton, over 100 new cases of the virus have been recorded in Westmoreland, with a significant increase in the number of deaths. 

“In this parish over the last month, the number of confirmed cases have moved from 245 to 460. In the last two weeks, over 100 new confirmed cases have been recorded. When we look at deaths within that parish of Westmoreland alone, we have had 22 deaths overall, but 12 of those recorded in the last two weeks,” said Tufton. 

“And these restrictions can be anything from tighter curfew or to suspension of certain activities, even the limited activities that are currently allowed.”

– Jamaica’s Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton

“Our surveillance at the hospital that serves the parish – that’s the Savanna-La-Mar Hospital – also shows a worrying trend with COVID admissions increasing steadily over the last three months. For October, there were some 23 admissions and for November, there were 55 admissions. This represents a 100 per cent increase in admissions in one month,” added Tufton.

Tufton warned that more drastic measures could be taken if the situation does not improve, noting that the majority of the new infections are as a result of COVID-19 protocols being ignored.

“But we are giving notice that we can’t continue to tolerate this type of disregard for the protocol and if the present measures are not adhered to, and we do not see a change in the trajectory over the next few days, then new restrictions will be imposed on the parish to effect that change. And these restrictions can be anything from tighter curfew or to suspension of certain activities, even the limited activities that are currently allowed.”