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Confirmed COVID-19 cases rise to 53

Health Minister Dr. Christopher Tufton and Prime Minister Andrew Holness
 
There are now 53 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Jamaica. 
 
The revelation was made by Health Minister Dr. Christopher Tufton at a press conference Friday afternoon.
 
The six new cases include a 58 year old male from Manchester, who is a contact of a confirmed case; a 57 year old male from Kingston and St. Andrew, who is also a contact of confirmed case; and a 40 year old male from Kingston and St. Andrew, whose mode of transmission is under investigation. 
 
The others are a 23 year old male from Clarendon, a contact of a confirmed case; a 42 male from Clarendon with travel history to the US; and a 22 year old female from Clarendon, who is a contact of a confirmed case. 
 
Charges for non-compliant persons
 
Persons who entered Jamaica on or after March 18, 2020 are being asked report to the Ministry of Health. They are being asked to contact the ministry at jamcovid19.moh.gov.jm or 888-ONE-LOVE.
 
About 4,500 people who arrived in Jamaica after that date are yet to report to the authorities.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness said persons in this group represent the greatest threat to the spread of the coronavirus.

He warned that non-compliant persons will face criminal charges under Section 52 of the Disaster Risk Management Act. They can be fined up to $1 million or one year imprisonment.
 
Mr. Holness said 460 people who travelled to Jamaica on or after March 18 have already called in to the Ministry of Health. 
 
Closure of air and seaports extended 
 
The Prime Minister also announced that the closure of Jamaica's ports to incoming passengers has been extended for a further 14 days.
 
The air and seaports were closed to incoming passengers on March 21 for 14 days.
 
However, certain Jamaicans were allowed to enter up to March 24.
 
Corn Piece quarantine extended 
 
The quarantine order in Corn Piece, Clarendon, is also being extended for a further 14 days.
 
Several persons who have tested positive for COVID-19 are either from that community or are linked to the first case from the area.
 
The first patient to die from the coronavirus in Jamaica had been staying in the community.
 
Curfew exemptions 
 
In relation to the curfew order, Mr. Holness said modifications have been made to exempt the Independent Commission of Investigation (INDECOM), the Cabinet Office and Solicitor General's Office.
 
INDECOM had earlier raised concern that it had not been included in the list of groups that were exempted from the curfew. 
 
The curfew, from 8pm to 6am, took effect on April 1 and will continue to April 8. 
 
Masks 
 
The Health Ministry has said the decision to wear face masks to protect against contracting covid-19 is up to the discretion of individuals.
 
However, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jacquiline Bisasor McKenzie said persons who choose to wear masks should be careful avoid unnecessarily touching it. They should discard of the mask if it becomes moist or soiled, removing it by the handles while they avoid touching their face.
 
The ministry has recommended the wearing of masks by persons who are ill with coughing and sneezing; persons who are quarantined or isolated at home and household members who care for these persons; as well as persons who are at high risk of developing severe illness and complications.
 
Persons who have had COVID-19 and have been discharged from hospital should wear a mask for two weeks.
 
Seven people, including Patient 1, have been released from isolation after recovering from the coronavirus. 


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