Jamaican authorities announced new timings for the island-wide curfew in place amid the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. From Thursday, October 8, to Sunday, October 18, a nightly curfew will continue between 20:00 and 05:00 (local time). There will be extended curfews for the Heroes' Weekend from Sunday, October 18, to Tuesday, October 20, whereby a curfew from 15:00 on Sunday to 08:00 on Monday, October 19, will be effective and from 15:00 on Monday through to 05:00 on Tuesday. A nightly curfew between 21:00-05:00 curfew will then continue from the same Tuesday, October 20, through to November 1.
In the communities of Whitfield Town (St Andrew Parish) and Waterford in Portmore (St Catherine Parish) stricter measures are in place with a curfew enforced between 18:00 and 05:00 until October 20. During this period, gatherings of more than six people are prohibited.
Additional measures remain in place across the rest of the country. Public gatherings may be held with no more than 15 people attending, including burial and church 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 65 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 social distancing of 2m (6ft) should be observed. Public transport may operate one hour before and after the curfew to facilitate the pick-up and drop-off of passengers. 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 October 8, there have been 7273 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 128 associated fatalities in Jamaica. 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.