Prime Minister, the Most. Hon. Andrew Holness, on Tuesday (February 22) announced a further relaxation of the coronavirus (COVID-19) containment measures.
The revised measures, which include changes of the nightly curfew hours, are based on declines in the COVID-19 indicators, particularly infections and hospitalisations.
The new measures are effective from Friday, February 25 for a three-week period, ending March 17.
Speaking at a virtual press briefing, Mr. Holness said that following Cabinet deliberations, the nightly curfews will now run from 12:00 a.m. to 5:00 am, ending at 5:00 a.m. on March 18.
The maximum number of persons allowed to physically attend funerals and burials will increase to 100 and this number includes mourners, clergy, and any other support personnel. Burials are permitted only between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Mondays to Fridays.
In addition, up to 100 persons can attend events hosted by public-sector entities, and 100 persons may be physically present at weddings and Annual General Meetings (AGM) of companies.
Mr. Holness also informed that effective Tuesday, March 1, the requirement to obtain a travel authorisation through the JamCOVID and Visit Jamaica platforms will be eliminated.
“However, we are at this time, maintaining the existing pre-test requirement for a negative PCR or antigen test conducted within three days prior to travel. We are aware that obtaining pre-tests is becoming more difficult and expensive in some jurisdictions. We are, therefore, reviewing whether we should maintain this requirement or modify it,” the Prime Minister said.
Concurrent with the removal of the travel authorisation is the elimination of travel-related quarantine requirements, effective March 1.
“I hasten to add that we are still strongly recommending that persons limit their movements for at least five days after returning from travel,” the Prime Minister said.
The Prime Minister also urged persons who have travelled to distance themselves from those who are most at risk.
“So, when you have returned from your travel, please cautiously entertain your family members or visit your elderly parents. I also want to emphasise that isolation requirements remain in effect for persons who test positive for COVID-19,” he pointed out.
The Prime Minister said that the relaxation of the measures will facilitate the return of children to face-to-face classes after the upcoming midterm holidays
He noted that while there is a high level of fatigue in the society, the objective is to get the nation’s children safely back in school.
“We have to be very careful at this period in time not to open up too much. So, we all have to still exercise caution and patience [and] give the children the priority to get back into school,” he noted.
The Prime Minister said that at the end of three weeks, it is quite likely that the Government will bring the measures to an end.