COVID-19: Prepare for lockdown, PM tells Jamaicans

Prime Minister Andrew Holness


Prime Minister Andrew Holness has told Jamaicans to prepare for a complete lock down of  the country to curb spread of  the coronavirus - COVID-19.

The health authorities revealed on Tuesday evening that the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 had risen by four, from 21 to 25.

Mr. Holness told the House of Representatives on Tuesday afternoon that the government has a plan for each phase of the spread of the virus.

He said the government was prepared to introduce more drastic measures if Jamaica begins to have a rapid increase in cases, through community spread, which would likely trigger the lock-down.

The people should "use this time to be prepared for it, because once it starts to spike, we're ready," he declared.



Mr. Holness also provided details concerning the restrictions now in force for barbershops and hair salons.

He said, as of  today (Wednesday) these businesses will only be allowed to open from 10 o'clock in the mornings until 5 o'clock in the afternoons.

Within those operating hours "no more than ten persons at a time shall be permitted in any barber shop or hair salon, and no more than two of those persons shall be clients waiting to be served."
The four new confirmed cases of CIVID-19 include two men, both 61 years old, with a travel history that includes Trinidad & Tobago, London, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates.

They arrived in Jamaica on March 11.

The others are a 51-year-old individual from Westmoreland, with no travel history, but who was a contact of  two previously confirmed cases, and a 61-year-old woman from Clarendon, with a travel history that includes New York, Spain, France, and the United Kingdom.

She returned to Jamaica on March 18 on flight BA2263.

The woman contacted the Ministry of Health's COVID-19 helpline when symptoms developed.

Seventeen of  the confirmed cases are imported; seven import-related; and one still under investigation. Sixteen are men and 9 women.

The youngest person to test positive is 24 years old while the oldest is 79.

Two of  the 150 samples tested are pending, according to the Ministry of Health & Wellness.





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