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The Seven and Eight Miles communities of Bull Bay in St. Andrew have been placed under quarantine to contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

This follows a Declaration Order by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, designating the entire island a disaster area, under the Disaster Risk Management Act.

Following the announcement at a press briefing on Friday (March 13) at Jamaica House, the Prime Minister explained that the Order gives the Government the authority to take certain measures, including quarantining an entire community.

Meanwhile, Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, pointed out that the decision was taken to quarantine the communities after a number of persons, who were linked to the first person who tested positive for the virus (patient zero), started showing symptoms that suggested that they are ill or becoming ill.

Additionally, he said a number of persons who are related to patient zero had been in quarantine facilities, and investigations have identified a number of others that came in contact with patient zero.

“Up to today, based on the activities in the field, the medical team determined that based on all the information that we have – persons experiencing symptoms – there has been some amount of community exposure sufficient to raise the risk level to a community transmission potential,” he said.

For her part, Chief Medical Officer in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Dr. Jacquiline Bisasor McKenzie, who led the medical team, said more than 30 persons have been in direct contact with patient zero and eight of them are symptomatic.

Under the quarantine order, access to and from the communities will be restricted for the next 14 days and the extent of the spread of the virus will be assessed and the necessary treatment applied.

Currently, there are eight persons with the virus in the island.  

Members of the security forces have already been deployed to the communities. 

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