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As the country grapples with the community transmission phase of the coronavirus (COVID-19), Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, is imploring Jamaicans to exercise greater personal responsibility in helping to slow the spread of the virus.

“It is not a fatalistic phase; it’s not a phase in which we say we throw up our hands [and] give up… . Now is the time when we must redouble all our efforts as a nation to bring the spread of the virus under control,” Mr. Holness said.

The Prime Minister, who was addressing a digital press conference on Tuesday (September 22), pointed out that the Government has gone to “great lengths” to explain to the population that COVID-19 is dangerous “and that complacency is something that we should never allow to creep into the management of the disease and in our own personal behaviour”.

“I do hope that as a society we are all taking a greater level of compliance and seriousness in our daily behaviour as it relates to consistently and faithfully following the established protocols and guidelines,” he noted.

The Prime Minister said that citizens must take greater precautions, now that the virus “is in literally most if not all communities around the island”.

“Before, we could say it was in a cluster. We would know these are the persons who are infected, and we could trace them back and connect them and put measures around them to contain it. Now we have to take a different approach. The current phase requires each individual to take their health, security and safety into their own hands and that means… [putting on] your mask… sanitising your hands [and] engaging in regular hand washing where possible,” he said.

Mr. Holness further advised persons not to be afraid to say to someone “you’re standing too close to me”.

“You don’t want to be in a group of more than 15 persons and if you find yourself in such a group, as much as possible, you want to maintain your social distance,” the Prime Minister advised.

The Prime Minister noted that the Government will continue to put in place measures, including those designed to control movement, arguing that “ultimately, the virus doesn’t have legs of its own. The virus moves by people moving, and if you are moving in unproductive ways, in indiscriminate ways, then you could be spreading the virus and having an impact on persons and on the economy”.

“It is best that each citizen, even without the Government exercising control over movement, becomes situationally aware and makes decisions about how and when and with whom they move,” he added.

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