Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced the declaration of the entire island of Jamaica a Disaster Zone as a result of the effects of the global pandemic – the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Already eight persons have tested positive for the virus in Jamaica.
Prime Minister Holness announced the declaration last evening (March 13) under the powers provided to him under Section 26 (2) of the Disaster Risk Management Act. Additionally, two communities – seven miles and eight miles in Bull Bay St. Andrew – will be quarantined immediately.
“It is given our legal framework this now gives the Government authority to take certain measures. One measure is the quarantine of a community which is the seven-and-eight Miles area of Bull Bay. What it means is that the JCF and JDF has been deployed. There will be restrictions on the movement of people in an out of the community”, said Prime Minister Holness.
The quarantined communities will be given special attention by State Agencies with the Jamaica Constabulary Force and the Jamaica Defense Force being deployed in the areas.
Prime Minister Holness has asked that residents in the affected areas comply with the requests of health officials.
“This is not being treated like a curfew. I don’t want the citizens to feel like this is a security cordon on them. This is for their own benefit as well as for the rest of Jamaica’s benefit. The soldiers and police will be appropriately geared,” said the Prime Minister.
In the meantime, the Government has imposed travel restrictions on the United Kingdom. This brings to nine the number of countries on Jamaica’s restriction list.
Only citizens and persons who have residency or long stay arrangements or marriage exemptions will be landed in Jamaica. All other persons will not be landed at this time.
Persons from the UK who are landed will be required to be quarantined either at a facility or at home.
Additionally, the Ministry of Health and Wellness says those persons who have been landed in the island who feel they may be displaying symptoms of COVID-19 to self-identify and contact the Ministry.
In the meantime, Prime Minister Holness sought to reassure the nation that once the guidelines are followed the country will get through this health crisis which is affecting countries across the world.