In response to a recent uptick in COVID-19 cases since the Government of Jamaica introduced more relaxed containment measures on July 1, Prime Minister Andrew Holness has warned that a tightening of these measures could take place in advance of their August 10 expiration.
Speaking in Parliament on Wednesday (July 21), Holness stated that “while the purpose of my presentation to the House today is not to announce any changes to the measures which currently are set to expire on August 10, based on the early warning signs that we are seeing, the COVID sub-committee of Cabinet will be meeting this weekend to review the situation to consider whether there may be a need to tighten some of the measures in advance of August 10.”
The prime minister noted that, based on the decision arrived at during the committee meeting, he would report to the country any updates to the measures next Tuesday (July 27) via press conference.
As he did in June, during the announcement of the new measures, Holness urged all Jamaicans to exercise extreme caution.
He stated: “This is not the time to become complacent. I want to reinforce the need for everyone to be vigilant about observing the protocols and keeping ourselves and each other safe.”
He continued: “Some may say that I’m being alarmist and that some amount of uptick in our numbers would have been natural seeing that we have allowed greater movement and greater gatherings, (however) we have seen from the experience of other countries, and indeed from our own experience, how insidious this virus is and how quickly spikes can occur.”
Referencing the highly transmissible Delta variant, which is now the dominant variant in the United Kingdom and many countries across the world, Holness warned that while there had yet to be any confirmed cases of the variant in Jamaica, it would be wishful thinking to believe it would not soon make its way to the country’s borders.
Highlighting that “indiscipline, complacency and lack of diligence in observing the protocols” have been driving the country-wide spread, he stated that, “we have to decide whether to go about our activities in a disciplined and cautious way to keep our economy open and earn our livelihoods or whether we want the path of indiscipline which will inevitably lead to a spike, forcing us to tighten measures”.