Prime Minister Andrew Holness
Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced Friday that three additional cases of the coronavirus, COVID-19, have been confirmed, bringing Jamaica's total to 19.
The new cases relate to a 38 year old American male with a history of travel from Boston, who arrived in the island on March 14; a 30 year old female with a history of travel from New York, arriving in Jamaica on March 17; and a 60 year old female, a retiree of Portland. The latter case is under investigation.
Mr. Holness said, of the 19 cases, five are local transmission.
“We are at the point in the epidemic where we are classified as having local transmission, that means that we have imported cases and persons infected locally have been traced to those imported cases,” the Prime Minister explained during a press conference at Jamaica House.
The Prime Minister said Jamaica has not yet reached the next stage - community spread - which is when persons in the communities become infected and the origin of the virus cannot be traced to an imported case.
Air and seaports closed
With the number of coronavirus cases in Jamaica reaching 19, the decision has been made to close Jamaica's seaports and airports to contain local spread of the highly contagious respiratory illness.
Prime Minister Holness said this would restrict the entry of passengers to the island. However, outgoing passengers and cargo would not be affected.
Greater focus on persons at risk
In addition, Mr. Holness said the government will be increasing its emphasis in relation to the elderly and persons at risk by virtue of pre-existing conditions.
Persons over age 60 as well as those with underlying conditions are the most susceptible to the coronavirus.