Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the Government is considering further tightening of the coronavirus (COVID-19) infection prevention and control measures, as the number of cases in Jamaica continues to surge.
Mr. Holness said Jamaica was now struggling with the confirmed presence of the more transmissible Delta variant, noting that “that would probably be the cause of the increased numbers of infections and increased positivity rate”.
“We are now at a stage where the number of hospitalisations is challenging the capacity of our health systems. In fact, the majority of our hospitals are over their capacity. Our healthcare workers are stretched, and they are stressed,” the Prime Minister said.
He was speaking at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston on Thursday (August 19) following the arrival of the first tranche of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines, donated by the United States (US) Government.
The initial shipment comprises 208,260 doses, augmented by kits that include syringes, needles and dilutants needed to administer the vaccines.
Mr. Holness said consequent on the latest spike, the Government has to consider a further tightening of the measures.
“It is clear that the messages that we have been communicating, regarding personal responsibility, wearing of masks, [physical] distancing, [and] keeping and observing the curfew hours… are not being heeded with great faithfulness,” he pointed out.
Consequently, Mr. Holness said “in the coming days, the Government will have to consider even tighter measures”.
This, he maintained, “is something… we loath doing because we understand the impact that it has on livelihoods and freedoms”.
“However, there is also a clear and present danger, a real threat to lives and livelihoods and freedoms if we are not able to contain this third wave of the pandemic outbreak and the disease that it causes in Jamaica,” Mr. Holness added.
Over 600,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccines are being donated by the US Government to Jamaica.
The vaccines will strengthen the island’s efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.