By Caribbean News Global contributor
KINGSTON, Jamaica, – On Monday, March 1, prime minister Andrew Holness announced new and stricter COVID-19 measures under the Disaster Risk Management Act, with immediate, “ amid an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations” a press release fro the Ministry of Health (MOH), said.
The government has been forced to shift policy efforts to preserve lives and livelihoods, according to prime minister Andrew Holness. “We have to take these drastic actions because citizens are not displaying the level of responsibility and compliance necessary,”
The new measures are as follows:
- Effective March 1 – The islandwide curfew remains at 8:00 pm to 5:00 am [today] and expires at 5:00 am on March 23, 2021;
- All places of worship, including churches will engage in only online services. However, a maximum of 10 persons are allowed inside the worship centre to facilitate online broadcasting;
- Zoos, Parks, Gyms, Attractions and Bars will close at 6:00 pm until March 22;
- Public Beaches and rivers will close until March 22.
- Only students sitting exit exams (PEP, CSEC/CAPE) will be permitted to have face-to-face classes. This is applicable to both public and private institutions;
- Persons 60 years and older must Stay-at-Home;
- Public sector entities must host all social events online, if at all;
- Effective March 4 – Strict Work-From-Home arrangement for public sector. Permanent secretaries are directed to have only persons who work in critical service delivery where the nature of the work requires them to be in the physical office.
- All persons traveling to Jamaica, including Jamaicans, must present a negative COVID-19 test within 72-hours prior to travel date. Business travelers must present a pre-test result and will incur the cost of a PCR test after arrival in Jamaica.
- Effective March 8 – All funerals and burials will be prohibited. Funerals already scheduled for March 1-7 are allowed once they are in compliance with the Disaster Risk Management Act.
- Weddings are allowed with a maximum of 25 persons including the officiating pastor, witnesses and wedding party.
All other measures under the Disaster Risk Management Act will remain in effect for a further three weeks ending March 23, 2021.