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  • The Government of Jamaica has restricted access to infirmaries and golden aged homes with immediate effect for 14 days as a measure to contain possible spread of COVID-19 in the island.
  • A 30 days restriction has also been placed on the acceptance of new residents to golden aged homes and infirmaries across the island.
  • Giving an update on Government measures to contain the coronavirus (COVID19) in Jamaica on March 13, Prime Minister Andrew Holness underscored that the restrictions serve as a precautionary measure to protect the elderly, who are most vulnerable to the virus.

The Government of Jamaica has restricted access to infirmaries and golden aged homes with immediate effect for 14 days as a measure to contain possible spread of COVID-19 in the island.

A 30 days restriction has also been placed on the acceptance of new residents to golden aged homes and infirmaries across the island.

Giving an update on Government measures to contain the coronavirus (COVID19) in Jamaica on March 13, Prime Minister Andrew Holness underscored that the restrictions serve as a precautionary measure to protect the elderly, who are most vulnerable to the virus.

“This particular disease has shown to be devastating on particularly the senior population and we don’t want it to affect our seniors here. So, the Minister of Local Government has taken some steps to ensure that our infirmaries, our golden aged homes, and other state institutions which care for senior citizens, that there are measures in place to address those,” said Prime Minister Holness.

In that regard, Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Desmond McKenzie outlined the following.

“The Ministry has taken the following decisions with immediate effect to restrict access to our infirmaries for the next 14 days. Now, we are doing this because many persons normally visit our infirmaries, not just Jamaicans, but foreigners. For the next 30 days, we are also restricting the acceptance of residents to our infirmaries.  So, it means that we would have had persons who have already been interviewed and identified to be accepted to our infirmaries, we will be putting a hold on that for the next 30 days,” said Minister McKenzie.

At present there are 13 infirmaries and three state operated golden aged homes accommodating over 3500 senior citizens. Of these persons, 98 percent are estimated to be in the risk category for COVID19.

In addition, Minister McKenzie stated that isolation areas are being established within infirmaries. The facilities have already identified spaces for isolation and construction is already underway for those without such facilities.

In the meantime, work is being done to create temporary employment for the comprehensive sanitation of infirmaries.

“We are also moving, working with the ODPEM and the Jamaica Defence Force to commence comprehensive sanitation of our infirmaries and we are also moving further to create a temporary employment programme in our infirmaries and golden aged homes to have cleaning regularly of our infirmaries. We are also moving to provide adequate medical and nutritional support to the infirmaries. We have also moved to put in place the necessary emergency management service,” said Minister McKenzie.

In the meantime, the Government has arranged with the Jamaica Fire Brigade and private operators to provide ambulance support services to infirmaries and golden aged homes.

According to Minister McKenzie, the renovation of the Vineyard Town Golden Aged Home and the May Pen Infirmary are already underway to accommodate 50 of over 132 social cases from hospitals.

In that regard, Government is encouraging members of the public to cooperate with them as they make preparations to protect the most vulnerable among us.

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