Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced that there will be no permits issued for public gathering over the next fourteen (14) days.
The Prime Minister stated that permits that have already been granted will be revoked in light of the second case of COVID-19 in Jamaica.
Speaking at a media conference following an emergency Cabinet meeting last evening (March 11) Prime Minister Holness reiterated there is no need to panic.
“Where the law requires the granting of a permit for any event or gathering, no permits will be issued within the next 14 days, so that means any event, any entertainment events, any gathering that requires the issuing of a permit, we will instruct the permitting authorities, police, and the municipal councils not to issue any permits. Permits that are already issued will be rescinded, revoked effectively. We are placing a ban on those forms of gatherings. However, there are still private companies, [and] business that are having meetings, weddings, funerals, and Sunday morning church service, we are asking the public [to exercise] responsibility,” said Prime Minister Holness.
The Government is also actively reviewing travel restrictions for the United Kingdom as both cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) were imported by persons traveling from the UK.
Meanwhile, in the case of patient zero, the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Jamaica, the Government is asking persons who were on flight BA2263 on the 4th of March 2020, to identify themselves and let the Government know their current health status.
In the meantime, Cabinet has approved protocols for the closure of schools.
However, the protocols will not be enforced yet, as it is being reviewed for implementation as necessary.
“Cabinet has approved protocols for the closure of schools. However, those protocols still need further consultations. For example the Minister of Education, Minister Samuda, has held consultations with teachers, the regional staff, and the central staff at the ministry and there are aspects to the plan which require for example, we need to answer the question, how would children who have examinations coming up, PEP and CXC, how would we not disrupt their training and their tutoring. Therefore, we have some measures that we have put in place, for example, the use of public broadcasting radio and so forth. We just need to do some consultation and that will be done over a period of 24 hours but it is also important that we give some notice because if we were to just abruptly close schools some parents would be in a quandary,” said Prime Minister Holness.
In that regard, Prime Minister Holness also advised parents to make preparations and put themselves in the position to respond should there be the need for schools to be closed.
Prime Minister Holness appealed to members of the public to adhere to the highest personal hygiene recommendations.
According to Prime Minister Holness, direct special measures will be enforced to retrieve information from persons coming in the island from countries that are highly affected by the virus to prevent the rapid spread of COVID-19 in Jamaica.
Moreover, the Prime Minister emphasized that financial provisions have been made to take COVID-19 into consideration as the budget was designed for resilience.
Prime Minister Holness added that based on the recommended standard of the World Health Organization (WHO) and Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Jamaica is above the standard requirement.