Gov’t not considering a lockdown — PM

Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the Government is not contemplating locking down the country at this time as part of measures to deal with the spike in coronavirus infections (COVID-19).

“I know that there have been a lot of discussions and rumours about a lockdown, but the Government’s position on this has been very clear — we want to protect lives and livelihoods. Lockdowns have a devastating effect on the economy,” he said.

“In fact, all the measures that restrict movement, including curfews, have the effect of slowing down economic activities,” the prime minister added.

Holness, who was addressing a virtual press briefing from the Office of the Prime Minister yesterday, said, however, that “a lockdown is not off the books”, noting that it would be a consideration if cases start rising above what is projected.

He pointed out that at present, the Government, in keeping with “its evidence-based measured and proportionate risk-management approach”, is tightening up some of the containment measures over the next two weeks, which will then be reassessed.

Holness reiterated that citizens have to learn to live with the virus. “The only sustainable way for us as a country to protect both our lives and livelihoods is to learn to go about our normal everyday activities, restricting movement to absolutely what is necessary and being responsible in how we conduct our business.

“Until we get a viable vaccine, which is at least a year-and-a-half away, this outbreak has to be managed by the collective will of the people through the responsible exercise of our individual choice and by the actions that the Government will take in restricting unnecessary movement,” he stressed.

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