Bull Bay bluff

Bull Bay bluff

Many residents going about their normal business despite lockdown


Saturday, March 21, 2020

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ONE of the lessons from Wuhan, China, the birthplace of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), is that one infected person spreads it to an average to 2.6 persons, and the only way to stop the spread is to isolate and quarantine.

Against that background, the Jamaican Government has introduced quarantine orders for Seven and Eight Miles in Bull Bay, St Andrew, where the first person to test positive locally for COVID-19 was staying, and Corn Piece Settlement in Clarendon, which housed the first person to die from the virus in Jamaica.

But it appears that the quarantine order is not being taken seriously in sections of Bull Bay, where residents seemed to be going about their normal business yesterday.

When the Jamaica Observer visited Seven and Eight Miles, checkpoints manned by police and soldiers were seen at several strategic points, while the delivery of care packages was being carried out near the Shooters Hill entrance to the community.

Police patrol teams were also seen in the two communities. However, that did not prevent neighbours from gathering at their usual hangout spots.

From the corner shops to the house shops, groups of people were seen socialising, obviously not worried that their neighbour or friend could be infected and spreading the virus.

In one section of Eight Miles, a construction project was under way and a group of young men were seen on the road mixing concrete and going about with no concern.

The only concern came from residents who urged the Observer's photographer not to take their pictures, as they did not want to be stigmatised.

“Mr D, if you take my picture the taxi man dem nah guh want take mi up when mi fi go town,” declared one Eight Miles resident as she headed for the Bull Bay main road to seek public transportation to downtown Kingston.

The estimated 12,000 residents under quarantine in Seven and Eight Miles have repeatedly been urged to remain inside their houses and not wander about the locked-down neighbourhood.

On Monday, Attorney General Marlene Malahoo Forte told the Observer that if the residents have to leave their houses and immediate yard space, it should only be for essential matters.

“But they are still required to stay within the mapped-out boundaries of the communities, which are now manned by the security forces,” said Malahoo Forte.

She added that a message is being crafted, to be delivered by town criers, to urge residents to remain inside their homes.

“The essential thing is to maintain distance and prevent contact,” said Malahoo Forte, as she argued that if the residents failed to obey the warning to stay in their premises the security forces would enforce the order.

The lockdowns in Bull Bay and Cornpiece are being implemented under sections of the 2015 Disaster Risk Management Act as well as aspects of both the Public Health Act and the Quarantine Act.

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