It was already evident to Jamaicans and members of the diaspora given the variety of COVID-19 instances over the previous month and the state of the hospitals, however on Sunday, March 21, Prime Minister Andrew Holness declared that Jamaica had reached its breaking level within the administration of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As promised, Holness introduced a slew of stronger measures, together with a sequence of lockdowns for the subsequent three weekends. The Prime Minister lashed out at some residents for not adhering to the protocols, saying that though the federal government had tried to carry off imposing any type of lockdown, the selfishness of some Jamaicans can be felt by all.
“Some individuals have pursuits in going to events. It’s the final expression of social selfishness to be pursuing these sorts of actions which help within the unfold,” Prime Minister Holness stated.
The minister of well being and wellness, Dr. Christopher Tufton additionally echoed Holness’s feedback and painted a grim image of the healthcare system. Dr. Tufton stated that some sick sufferers throughout Jamaica now must be housed beneath subpar situations as a result of hospitals are overcapacity.
“There are some 13 hospitals, together with Kingston Public and the College Hospital, that are actually within the crimson alert zone they usually have all exceed 100% of their COVID-19 isolation capability. To exceed the capability implies that we now have to accommodate optimistic sufferers who must be hospitalized beneath lower than excellent circumstances. In different phrases, we’ve got to place them in makeshift sections of the hospital. That’s the clearest indicator of a system being overwhelmed — in some instances, as much as 150% of capability,” Dr. Tufton defined.
To curb the spike in instances, Jamaicans must keep at residence for the subsequent three weekends. The lockdowns would start from noon on Saturdays to Mondays at 5 a.m. Through the Easter holidays, the lockdown will begin on Good Friday, April 2 to five a.m. on April 6th.
On the ‘no motion’ days, solely individuals employed to important companies, individuals in search of emergency medical care and people touring to and from the airports will likely be allowed to journey.
Different measures introduced embody extensions of the UK journey ban till mid-April and the pretesting journey requirement till June 30, a ban on funerals and closure of seashores and points of interest.
Harsher Penalties for these Who Breach COVID-19 Protocols
One key element of the COVID-19 administration that the Jamaica authorities has struggled with is the enforcement of the protocols. However that might change following the brand new modifications Catastrophe Threat Administration (Modification) Act.
The laws has been utilized by the federal government to legally implement and implement COVID-19 restrictions.
On March 23, the Home of Representatives accredited amendments to the Act so as to add a ticketing system with fines for individuals who breach COVID-19 protocols. The fines vary from JMD $3000 for tier one offenses like utilizing a river outdoors of the desired instances to JMD $500,000 for tier ten offenses like working a bar, membership, or attraction throughout a prohibited interval.
In displaying his assist for the brand new fines, the island’s Minister of Justice, Delroy Chuck stated, “This nation wants some self-discipline and it’s the intention that this invoice will help the police pressure to avoid wasting lives. Our hospitals are overflowing and until we’ve got some drastic actions, lives will likely be misplaced.”
The brand new penalties have additionally been supported by the Prime Minister and members of the opposition, Individuals’s Nationwide Occasion.