Prime Minister Andrew Holness is calling on residents in 18 Kingston and St Andrew communities that are being monitored in light of increased coronavirus (COVID- 19) cases to take greater precaution in protecting themselves.
The communities that have been seeing an increase in cases in the last two weeks and have a high risk of transmission are Duhaney Park, Patrick Gardens, Pembroke Hall, Cooreville Gardens, New Haven, Half-Way Tree, Hughenden, Arlene Gardens, Molynes Gardens, State Gardens, Zaidie Gardens, Constant Spring, Barbican, Meadowbrook, Havendale, Delacree Park, Olympic Gardens and Waltham Gardens.
Speaking at a virtual press briefing today at the Office of the Prime Minister Media Centre in Kingston, Holness said it is important for the residents to understand the threat and take the necessary precautions.
“We cannot always return to lockdowns, and we cannot always return to shutting down the country. We have to learn to live with COVID, and the way to live with it is for every single Jamaican to responsibly, faithfully and consistently follow the infection prevention and control measures, and we know what these are,” the prime minister said.
“If you’re going out in public, wear your mask. If you have to take public transportation, wear your mask. If you are ill with flu-like symptoms, respiratory challenges, if you’re coughing, sneezing, stay at home and reach out to the health service,” he added.
Holness reiterated that people must also ensure that they gather in groups of no more than 20 and practise social distancing and wash their hands or sanitise regularly.
“These measures work and I can only encourage our Jamaican citizens to follow them faithfully and consistently,” he said.
Meanwhile, Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton, who noted that the new development was a cause for concern, indicated that cases that have emerged in the communities in the two weeks have no epidemiological link.
“That is, they cannot be traced to either a confirmed local or imported case. This fact indicates the possibility of spread in the communities and, therefore, requires that higher levels of surveillance will have to be conducted,” he said.
“Over the next weeks, the Ministry of Health and Wellness will, therefore, be deploying more health officers to visit these communities to conduct community surveillance, community sensitisation sessions and health promotion activities,” the minister added.
In the meantime, he is also encouraging residents in the mentioned communities to facilitate and cooperate with the health teams when they visit their homes, places of work and other institutions to conduct the necessary actions to reduce the spread of the disease.