COVID-19: Jamaica’s Security Forces Begin Tracking Persons Who Fail To Comply With Self-Quarantine Order

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Friday April 3, 2020 – Government has started tracking 500 persons who are among those who returned to the island between March 18 and 23 and have ignored persistent calls for them to self-identify and self-quarantine for two weeks amid the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

After making several appeals for those individuals to identify themselves to the Ministry of Health and Wellness so that their health status can be determined, Prime Minister Andrew Holness has advised that an Order has been made under the Disaster Risk Management Act, which now makes it mandatory for them to come forward and to self-quarantine.

Failure to comply with the Order attracts a maximum fine of JAM$1 million (US$7,462) and 12 months in prison.

The Prime Minister had also indicated that a list of the persons of interest was being put together and checks were also being done to remove those who have either left the island or have already made contact with the Ministry.

On Wednesday, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Dunstan Bryan said a list has been collated and that the security forces have started checking the addresses of those on the list.

While noting that the matter is being addressed with the assistance of the Jamaica Customs Agency, the National Security Ministry and the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency, Bryan said members of the security forces were checking the individuals’ homes for their quarantine status.

“Already we have seen where several homes have been checked and some persons have not been adhering to the quarantine requirements and the police have been instructed to first serve a notice, then to serve the necessary document for prosecution,” he said.

Meantime, Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton said yesterday that Government is considering publishing the individuals who have failed to report to the Ministry.

“We are just looking at one aspect of the law to ensure that we are on good grounds to do that. I certainly support that because I think it is a national imperative; it is a public health issue that is of utmost importance,” he said.

He added that the Ministry was experiencing some difficulty in deciphering some of the details on the forms that persons were asked to complete.

“I’ve seen some of those forms; very few people actually put an address that is legible…or the right address. So, what is happening now is that we have had to take those forms and literally go through them, and it reflects the changes that may be required going forward in terms of automation of this information where persons use the electronic filing,” the Health Minister said.

Jamaica has recorded 47 COVID-19 cases. Of those, 27 were imported cases, 17 were import-related and three are under investigation.

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