Advertisement
JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, is appealing for Jamaicans to stay calm in the wake of the country’s first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • “The announcement of an imported COVID-19 case in Jamaica will no doubt raise concern and uncertainty in the minds of the public.
  • “While concern and fear are natural human reactions, there is no need for panic, hysteria, panic mongering or spreading misinformation. This will only detract from the efforts of the Government and redirect time and precious resources to correcting false information and resolving unnecessary disputes,” he said.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, is appealing for Jamaicans to stay calm in the wake of the country’s first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

“The announcement of an imported COVID-19 case in Jamaica will no doubt raise concern and uncertainty in the minds of the public.

“While concern and fear are natural human reactions, there is no need for panic, hysteria, panic mongering or spreading misinformation. This will only detract from the efforts of the Government and redirect time and precious resources to correcting false information and resolving unnecessary disputes,” he said.

He assured that the Government “will provide accurate and verified information in a timely manner on all pertinent matters relating to COVID-19.”

Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, during a press conference at the Ministry’s office New Kingston on Tuesday (March 10) revealed that the nation has recorded its first imported case of COVID-19, through a female citizen, who had travelled to the island from England on March 4.

The Prime Minister, in a subsequent presentation at the Office of the Prime Minister, assured Jamaicans that the Government is taking the necessary steps to deal with the situation and urged them not to start panicking.

Mr. Holness noted that he has already mobilised the National Disaster Risk Management Council, which comprises agencies and stakeholders in disaster response, and that the Health and Wellness Ministry has outlined various risk scenarios and plans, for which significant budgetary provisions have been made.

“The Government has been very proactive in securing the health of the nation by instituting travel restrictions, quarantine protocols and informing the public,” he said further.

“We have also identified and invested in preparing additional spaces for quarantine and isolation. The Ministry of Health has been fully mobilised and our technical and professional experts and technocrats have been sensitised,” he added.

The Prime Minister expressed confidence in the ability of the country’s medical professionals, public health officials and administrators in managing the situation.

He informed that he has established a protocol to advise the Leader of the Opposition, Dr. Peter Phillips, of any developments and will convene an ad hoc bi-partisan committee to ensure information-sharing at the political level.

“Government will continue to monitor and manage the situation on an hourly basis and will make decisions for the public’s health and safety as necessary, as we have been doing for the past few weeks,” he said.

As it relates to the education system, Mr. Holness pointed out that the Government has made financial provisions for schools to acquire hand sanitation products, and noted that schools will remain open until further notice.

“We are analysing the potential contagion impact of some large public events and as the situation evolves we will make appropriate decision in favour of the health of the public,” he said.

The Prime Minister said he has also advised all Government officials against undertaking non-essential travel and is imploring Jamaicans to take their health seriously and to adhere to the health precautions to avoid contracting the virus.

These include: maintaining a distance of at least one metre from persons, who are coughing or sneezing; frequent and thorough washing of hands using soap and water or hand sanitizer; covering the mouth and nose with tissue when coughing or sneezing and then discarding it; and resisting the urge to touch the face.

Skip to content