[Reprinted: Jamaica Observer, 9-4-2020]
Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton, has declared that Jamaica is moving into a new phase of COVID-19 in the country, namely the community transmission phase.
This he said followed meetings with the ministry’s technical team and the Pan American Health Organization.
The minister said this means the transmission of the virus can no longer be easily traced from one person to the other.
“The concern for the COVID-19 is now islandwide,” the minister said.
He was speaking at a digital COVID-19 press conference today.
He said Jamaicans should assume that everyone they come in contact with has the virus and should take on the individual responsibility of wearing masks and following protocols.
The minister noted that over the next six to eight weeks, the population may see a steep rise in the COVID cases reported. He said more people are expected to seek medical attention in public and private institutions.
Tufton said this new phase of virus spread may mean more effective measures to reduce spread of the virus to protect the vulnerable population.
He said health teams are currently examining protocols and will issue new protocols soon. The minister said measures will be introduced as early as Monday, September 7, and could include:
- Increased curfew restrictions islandwide (7:00 pm to 5:00 am daily)
- Stay at home orders for the elderly
- Re-emphasis on work from home orders in the private and public sector
- Further tightening on restrictions on public gatherings.