COVID-19: Jamaica Government Extends Quarantine for Community Where First Victim Stayed

Prime Minister Andrew Holness

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Monday April 6, 2020 – Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced that a community that had been quarantined following the first reported death from the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), will remain under quarantine for another two weeks.

He said residents of Corn Piece Settlement in the southern parish of Clarendon will remain under quarantine for another 14 days, as government tries to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the island.

Jamaica has 58 confirmed cases of COVID-19. The cases include three deaths.

The first was that of a 79-year-old man who travelled to Jamaica from New York on March 12. The quarantine of Corn Piece was implemented after members of the elderly man’s family, who reside there, refused to comply with the requests of the public health team on the ground to remain at home.

It is believed that the victim stayed in the community during the period of his illness and had contact with several people living there. At least six confirmed COVID-19 cases were connected to him.

Prime Minister Holness said the quarantine has been extended on the advice of the Ministry of Health and Wellness.

“It is clear why this is necessary. We definitely have to ensure that there is containment in that area,” he said.

Meantime, the Prime Minister has also announced that a special Cabinet unit has been established to further bolster the Government’s strategies to contain the spread of COVID-19.

He said the unit will undertake detailed reviews and deliberations of engagements and decisions by Ministries and the Government’s response, in general, to COVID-19. Holness said members have already held their first meeting.

“[With this group,] we are better able to manage [and] spend quality time thrashing out all the details of decisions that have to be made. [The unit, which will] focus on areas that are not adequately covered by one particular Ministry, is charged with working in ensuring that those functions that are not in the remit of a particular Ministry, have no slips in implementation,” he said.

Holness said the group will, additionally, offer support in relation to policy implementation.

“We need to be spending time at the policy level to get [that aspect] correct. We have to ensure that we are reviewing, monitoring and evaluating the implementing arms, making sure that [where there are] bureaucratic obstacles, those are removed,” the Prime Minister added.

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