Jamaicans will be subjected to another three weekend lockdowns, though the curfew hours have been significantly reduced.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness made the announcement Tuesday afternoon in the House of Representatives. He said that while the more restrictive measures imposed by the government last month have helped to slow the rate of COVID-19 infections, the positivity rate and the number of hospitalizations remain a concern for the government.
“The weekend lockdowns will be modified for the next three weekends. The curfew will begin at 4:00 p.m. on Saturdays [and end at 5:00 a.m. the next day] and at 2:00 p.m. on Sundays and end at 5:00 a.m. the next morning,” Mr. Holness said.
The Prime Minister also informed that the curfew hours for weekdays, Mondays to Fridays, will begin at 8:00 p.m. and end at 5:00 a.m. the next morning.
“We are not going to be closing at half-day on Fridays; that no longer obtains,” Mr. Holness said.
He said that all the other measures remain largely unchanged, until May 4, 2021.
As for COVID-19 measures that affect the diaspora, the current travel ban on the United Kingdom and several South American countries including Brazil and Peru will remain in place until May 4th. The Prime Minister said that all Jamaicans in the diaspora will still have to provide a negative COVID-19 test and quarantine on arrival. For now, this included travelers who have been vaccinated.
“The 14-day quarantine requirement applies even for persons who have been vaccinated. This is something that we will be reviewing as more scientific data becomes available about the risks of vaccinated persons transmitting the virus to persons who have not been vaccinated. But we will also be reviewing it as our internal vaccinations rise,” he said.
Following the announcement of the measures in parliament, leader of the opposition Mark Golding criticized Prime Minister Holness for his lack of regard for some members of society. Golding said the lockdowns have a negative impact on those who make their salary on a daily basis. He said that if Holness wants to extend the stricter measures, he must put the resources in place to allow those people to survive.