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  • The 24-hour curfew imposed in St. Catherine to limit the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and which would have ended on Wednesday (April 29), has been extended for a further three days.
  • According to the Prime Minister, the extension is necessary to provide additional time for the testing and interviewing of some 300 more persons in the parish.
  • In the meantime, the Prime Minister said a decision has been taken to remove from the parish Alorica employees who have tested positive and some of their contacts. Provisions have already been put in place for 204 of them.

The 24-hour curfew imposed in St. Catherine to limit the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and which would have ended on Wednesday (April 29), has been extended for a further three days.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, made the announcement on Monday (April 27), at a digital press conference, held at the Office of the Prime Minister Media Centre, in Kingston.

“The Cabinet has decided, based on the advice of the Ministry of Health, that the 24-hour curfew for St. Catherine be extended for a further three days, commencing at 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday, April 28, and ending at 6:00 a.m. on Friday, May 1, 2020,” he said,

According to the Prime Minister, the extension is necessary to provide additional time for the testing and interviewing of some 300 more persons in the parish.

The curfew has been in place since April 15, owing to an outbreak of the virus at the Alorica Call Centre in Portmore, St. Catherine, from where, so far, 182 employees have tested positive.

The Prime Minister said that although the curfew measures in the parish started out without a high level of compliance on the days that were designated for shopping, it has generally improved since the number of shopping days has been increased and the hours extended.

He commended the residents of the parish for voluntarily complying with the Order and for displaying an “extremely high level of compliance” on the “no movements” days.

The Prime Minister pointed out that he is aware of the feeling of being locked in and isolation that many residents might be experiencing, which can lead to behaviour that could create problems.

“So, the Government is seized of the importance of ensuring that these measures are not extended beyond what is necessary,” he added.

At the same time, Mr. Holness highlighted that the measures in St. Catherine have largely been successful in containing the spread of the virus in the parish.

“From the numbers we have, from the 26th of April, 2020 there were 196 cases in St Catherine; 150 of those were from the workplace cluster. So, it tells you that a significant number of the cases, some 70 per cent of the cases in St Catherine, would be from the workplace cluster,” he said.

“You can see that the public health measures which have been put in place – contact tracing, identifying those who are infected, and putting measures around them – that those have largely worked, and what facilitated that would be the 24-hour curfew,” Mr. Holness argued.

In the meantime, the Prime Minister said a decision has been taken to remove from the parish Alorica employees who have tested positive and some of their contacts. Provisions have already been put in place for 204 of them.

“Many of them are asymptomatic, meaning that they show no signs of the illness, so we are tracing down another 300 persons that we would like to either take out of the community or put them under home quarantine if their homes allow it or put in other measures, such as isolation, if their home facilities allow that. So, we need the additional time,” he said.

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