Two-week ban, for now: Public events cancelled, permits revoked—PM Holness

Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness (right) and Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton at an emergency press conference Wednesday, March 11. The Prime Minister confirmed the island’s second case of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). (Photo: Adrian Walker, JIS)

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced a 14-day revocation of all permits granted for the staging of entertainment events in the face of the new coronavirus threat.

Holness made the announcement at an emergency press briefing Wednesday night (March 11).

Holness further explained that no event permits will be issued at the government or parochial level as Jamaica confirmed its second novel coronavirus (COVID-19) case. The measures are the first in a series of clampdowns to minimise public gatherings as the national response to the coronavirus outbreak intensifies.

“Permits that are already issued will be rescinded. Effectively, we’re placing a ban on those forms of gatherings, however, that is just a part of the problem. There are still private entities, businesses having meetings, weddings, funerals and church service[s],” Holness said.

PM Holness urged the Jamaican public to exercise their responsibility to maintain social distancing standards set out by the Ministry of Health and Wellness.

“We’re asking the public, and this is where personal responsibility comes in, [for] good civic understanding, that you follow the protocols that have been established for personal care and hygiene. That you have these meetings conducted as efficiently as possible,” Holness said.

The island’s second imported case of COVID-19 was confirmed to be a female employee of the US Embassy in Kingston, who travelled to the United Kingdom (UK). She returned to Jamaica on Monday.

It is the second such case of the coronavirus from the UK in less than 24-hours after the ministry confirmed the country’s first case on Tuesday, March 10.