Jamaica Confirms Community Spread of COVID-19; Island Braces for Increase in Cases

Jamaica chris tufton
(from left) Dunstan Bryan, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Health Minister Dr. Chris Tufton and Dr Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie, the chief medical officer

Jamaican authorities on Friday hinted at the possibility of introducing new measures from Monday next week, including curfew restrictions to deal with the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) after indicating that the virus is now island-wide.

Health Minister Dr. Christopher Tufton, speaking at a virtual news conference is moving into the community transmission phase and that the virus can no longer be easily traced from one person to the other.

Officials from the Ministry of Health and Wellness have been holding talks with representatives of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and Tufton said Jamaicans should assume that everyone they come in contact with has the virus and should take on the individual responsibility of wearing masks and following protocols.

On Thursday, the island reported that two more persons had died from the virus, pushing the total to 29, while 74 new positives cases had been recorded.

The two latest COVID-19-related deaths are of an 81-year old female and a 35-year-old male who both had comorbidities, namely diabetes and hypertension.

The island has also recorded one additional case of a coincidental death of a person confirmed with SARS-CoV-2. This is a case that was previously recorded as a death under investigation. The case is a 56-year-old male from Clarendon.

The 74 new positives cases bring to 2,896 the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases with 1,873 being active cases.

Tufton told reporters that over the next six to eight weeks, the population may see a steep rise in the COVID cases as more people are expected to seek medical attention in public and private institutions.

He said this new phase of virus spread may mean more effective measures to reduce spread of the virus to protect the vulnerable population and that health teams are currently examining protocols that would be issued soon.

Tufton said that the measures will be introduced as early as Monday and could include increased curfew restrictions islandwide, stay at home orders for the elderly as well as a re-emphasis on work from home orders in the private and public sector and further tightening on restrictions on public gatherings.




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