As the island surpasses 7,000 COVID-19 cases and over 100 deaths, the Jamaican government has introduced new COVID-19 measures, that will see a shutdown of all evening and nighttime activities during the upcoming Heroes Day weekend.
Yesterday, the government announced that it will be imposing a stricter curfew for the holiday weekend in an attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19 on the island.
For the holiday period, the curfew is to begin at 3 pm on Sunday, October 18 and will remain in force on Heroes Day, Monday, October 19. Thereafter, the curfew hours will run from 9 pm until 5 am daily.
Additionally, the communities of Whitfield Town in lower St Andrew and Waterford in Portmore, St Catherine have been placed under tighter COVID-19 restrictions which include a curfew that begins at 6pm each day, running until 5 the following morning. This curfew will remain in force until October 20.
The stricter curfews are to avoid a repeat of what happened on the island during the “EmanciPendence” week when mass gatherings and large parties took place across the country.
Unlike during the Easter and Labour Day holidays when restrictive curfew hours were implemented, that did not happen for the Emancipation Day (August 1) and Independence Day (August 6) holidays and the common consensus is that the events held contributed to the massive spike in cases.
Other measures announced that will impact the diaspora include antigen tests now being accepted for visitors. Prime Minister Andrew Holness said this should make it easier for visitors – both tourists and from the diaspora – to meet the pretesting requirement as antigen tests are much more readily available and cheaper than PCR tests.
Visitors will also no longer be required to upload their COVID-19 test results but rather, present it and the usual travel authorisation when they check-in for their flight.