Jamaican authorities announced on Tuesday, September 22, that the island-wide curfew between 20:00 and 05:00 (local time) will remain in place until October 7. The government amended nationwide curfew hours on September 8 following an increase in confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Additional measures remain in place across Jamaica. Public gatherings may be held with no more than 15 people attending, including burial services. Most commercial activity has resumed; businesses should continue to adopt working from home models for their employees to follow. Recreational facilities have reopened subject to operating requirements. Individuals over 70 years old should continue to stay at home, though they can leave their homes once a day for essentials. Face masks should be worn in public and a social distancing of 2m (6ft) should be observed. Taxis are required to carry one less passenger.
Quarantine measures for people entering the country will also continue; travelers are required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, regardless of a negative COVID-19 test result unless they are business travelers whose stay is shorter than 14 days. All travelers arriving into Jamaica must have prior authorization from the Visit Jamaica website and will be tested for COVID-19 and screened for symptoms at the airport. Those arriving from the US, Brazil, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic will be required to present a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test result for COVID-19 acquired no more than seven days prior.
As of Wednesday, September 23, there have been 5270 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Jamaica with 75 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.