While the Ministry of Health & Wellness continues to assess the degree of spread of COVID-19 over the holiday season, the Government of Jamaica has announced an extension of the islandwide curfew and all other previously announced measures under the Disaster Risk Management Act, until Sunday, January 31, 2021.
The islandwide curfew hours will therefore remain in place commencing at 10:00 p.m. nightly and ending at 5:00 a.m. each morning. All other measures, including the prohibition on parties and events, the public gathering limit of 15 persons as well as measures relating to travel, burials and weddings are unchanged and remain in effect until the end of January.
Westmoreland Special Curfew Discontinued
At the same time, the Ministry of Health and Wellness has indicated to the Cabinet that it will not require an extension of the special restrictions for Westmoreland, when the measures in that parish end on Friday, January 15. Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday, January 12, Minister of Health & Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton noted that, “the interventions in Westmoreland have resulted in the reduction in reported cases to 51 active cases as at January 11, 2021. The total occupancy at the Savanna-la-Mar Hospital is now 56% for isolation, a significant reduction from the above 80% isolation occupancy reported in December.”
Concern for St. Ann and Manchester
Dr. Tufton, however alerted the island to the current assessments of the parishes of St. Ann and Manchester, where there are signs of increased spread of the virus. As at January 11, 2021, St. Ann had 75 active cases while Manchester had 68 active cases. When assessed relative to population, St. Ann has 35 per 100,000 while Manchester has 43 per 100,000. These are the first and second highest rates in the island, respectively.
The Health Departments in both parishes have already began to ramp up prevention activities with testing and contact tracing, especially for the vulnerable population. Community interventions have also been initiated with activities in town centres and in at-risk communities.