Jamaicans that have been confirmed as COVID-19 positive will be allowed to vote at the public polling stations on September 3- the island’s general elections.
In a draft document to the Cabinet, the Ministry of Health & Wellness had previously proposed to warn COVID-19-positive Jamaicans that they will be in violation of the Disaster Risk Management Act (DRMA) and subject to arrest if they attempt to leave facilities or their homes in which they have been isolated to go to the polls.
But today, the DRMA was amended to uphold the constitutional right of all Jamaicans eligible to vote, to do so.
In a gazette published, it was outlined that COVID-19 positive Jamaicans can go to the polls to vote. They will be facilitated between 4 and 5 PM on election day under strict conditions. These people are expected to wear masks, gloves, a face shield and a gown. They are also required to travel alone with a driver to the polling stations. The driver should also wear a mask.
As for persons not confirmed to be COVID-19 positive but are in quarantine (not in isolation), they may vote between 7:00 am and 5:00 pm then return to quarantine. Those people must observe protocols including travel via private transport while wearing a mask.
Amendment also made to allow for people over the age of 75 to leave home if they wish to vote.
The entire population is required to wear a mask to the polling station. Everyone will also be subject to temperature check before entering the polling station. They will also be required to sanitize and maintain a social distance.
The directives come just hours after the Minister of Health and Wellness announced that Jamaica recorded the highest number of COVID-19 cases over a 24-hour period with 245 new cases and one death.
Jamaica is now up to 2,357 cases and 21 deaths. Some 1,300 people are in isolation with almost 29,000 people in home-quarantine.
Election day workers, members of the police and military are voting today, ahead of Thursday’s general election. The Electoral Office of Jamaica has set up 215 designated locations to facilitate voting today.