Jamaica’s CMO Warns of Continued Lockdown Measures

Sheri-Kae McLeod

Jamaica CMO
Jamaica’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie

For the past month, Jamaica has been on complete lockdown from Sunday through Tuesday, and tighter curfew hours for the other four days of the week. The restrictions were put in place in August to stem the surge in COVID-19 cases.

During a recent press briefing by the ministry of health, the island’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Jacquiline Bisasor-Mckenzie said the measures have been working to decrease the COVID-19 positivity rate.

“We have imposed restrictions and a lot of persons have taken on personal responsibility to ensure that they restrain from behaviour that will cause exposure and spread, and what we are seeing is that these measures would have resulted in a decrease,” said Bisasor-McKenzie.

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The COVID-19 reproductive rate is also decreasing. And while these are positive signs, the CMO said that how long the spike will continue is dependent on the prevalence of the variants in the country.

“Any projection in terms of how long, is going to be based on the variants that are in circulation. Delta is very, very transmissible and so that can change how long we take to go down. And then if we get new variants that are transmitting even faster than the Delta then that also can cause a lengthening of this surge,” she said.

She also noted that it is likely that the current COVID-19 measures on the island will be extended until Jamaica is out of the COVID-19 danger zone.

“Now, it’s still early days because we are just seeing the bend going down and it means that we may have to continue with some of these restrictions that we have in place to keep that reproductive rate down and pretty much get it below one.

“We want to get it back down to 0.7 and even below 0.7 was where we were in July, and 0.3 was where we were at last year July,” she continued.

The stricter COVID-19 measures including the three no-movement days expire on September 14. Prime Minister Andrew Holness is expected to give another address to the nation, regarding the restrictions going forward.

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