Jamaica News: Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, revealed today (March 23), that two additional cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) have been confirmed, bringing the total number of infected persons to 21.
Speaking at a press conference at Jamaica House, the Prime Minister said that beginning on Wednesday, March 25, there will be restriction on persons 75 years old and over, given that the phase of community transmission is being approached.
“All persons 75 years and older must stay at home, subject to exemptions that are to be specified, and this will take effect on the 25th day of March 2020 for 14 days. I am urging all Jamaicans to observe this,” Mr. Holness emphasised.
The Prime Minister also pointed out that all public-sector workers, 65 years and older, are to work from home, subject to specified exemptions.
Following his remarks, Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, gave more details on the new patients.
“These are a 61-year-old from Manchester who has a travel history that includes Florida, Dubai, Tanzania and Egypt, so he could have picked it up from any of those countries. There is also a 51-year-old male with chronic illness from Westmoreland. He is a contact of two imported confirmed cases and was identified through contact tracing and was admitted to a government quarantine facility,” Dr. Tufton said.
The confirmed cases are 13 males and eight females, and the average age is 48 years old with the youngest being 24 years old and the oldest being 79 years old.
“This is moving up from 19 when we last announced publicly on Friday (March 20),” the Minister said.
Dr. Tufton emphasised that there are no doctors or healthcare workers in the figure at this point.
“Fourteen are imported cases; six are import-related cases – persons who picked up the virus from those who came in – that we have been able to trace, and one is still under investigation,” he noted.
In the meantime, the Prime Minister reiterated calls for social distancing to be maintained in Jamaica’s fight against COVID-19, and encouraged Jamaicans to use technology more to reach audiences, especially churches.
“We have been petitioned as well by several churches which would still want to conduct a National Day of Prayer. The challenge of course, is that we would not be able to assemble in any large numbers, and, therefore, I am certain that the technology does not take away from the sincerity of the prayer. We urge that as many prayer vigils be held [as possible], but they must be done maintaining the gathering limits, and we could expand our audience by the technology,” he said.