Jamaica recorded its highest number of daily COVID-19 cases with 527 cases reported across the island, according to the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
The new high shatters the previous record of 468 cases reported on February 27.
The newly confirmed COVID-19 cases bring the total number of cases on the island to 25,303, 10,469 of which are active cases.
There were three additional COVID-19 deaths on Friday, bringing the overall coronavirus death toll in Jamaica to 446. The island’s positivity rate stands at 24.2%.
To curb the current spike in cases, the Jamaican government imposed a slew of new restrictions on February 28. These include:
- A 6 PM closing time for zoos, parks, gyms, attractions and bars, until March 22
- Closure of physical schools, expect for students sitting external examinations in grades 6, 11, 12 and 13
- A mandatory work-from-home order in the public sector
- A ban on social events or ceremonies, unless virtual, until March 22
- Negative COVID-19 test requirement for both Jamaicans and non-Jamaicans traveling to the island
- The ban on direct flights from the UK has now been extended to March 22.
- The 8 PM to 5 AM curfew extended until March 23
- A ban on funerals and burials until March 22
- Closure of public beaches and rivers for 22 days, starting March 1
Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness said the government was forced to act due to “the capacity of the health system being threatened” due to a spike in cases over the past week.
Additionally, he stressed that Jamaicans have also started to take the COVID-19 pandemic for granted.
In the meantime, Jamaica is set to receive the first shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine from India on Monday, March 8. The vaccination process is slated to be rolled out in three phases: Phase one is categorised as vulnerable groups; phase two, essential to economic activity; and phase three, general public.
The Government has set a target to vaccinate 65 percent of the population by March 31, 2022.