Gov't to announce Christmas COVID measures in two weeks

Gov't to announce Christmas COVID measures in two weeks

...extends existing steps under the Disaster Risk Management Act

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

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WHILE promising to advise the country on measures for Christmas, the Government yesterday extended a number of the steps implemented to control the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“Cabinet is currently assessing and reviewing the situation and will advise on the measures applicable for December 2020, and in particular the Christmas period, in another two weeks,” the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) said in a release.

The measures that were in place under the Disaster Risk Management (Enforcement Measures) Order, 2020, expired yesterday. They were, however, extended through an amendment to the order.

According to OPM, the islandwide curfew time will remain at 9:00 pm to 5:00 am each day, continuing from 9:00 last night until 5:00 am on December 1, 2020.

As it relates to the provision of public transportation, OPM said: “Public transportation by motor vehicle being limited to one person less than the maximum number of people allowed to be carried under the relevant licence will remain in effect until November 30, 2020; public transportation operators will be allowed one hour before and one hour after the curfew to get to or from base to home and no passengers are allowed to be transported during these one-hour periods; drivers are to comply with the requirements of keeping windows open and having the air conditioning turned off when operating the vehicle.

The OPM said, too, that current protocols under the Controlled Entry Programme for both residents and visitors will remain in effect until November 30, 2020.

“While the requirements for pretesting and quarantine, et cetera, remain the same, various operational improvements continue to be implemented to streamline the processing of arriving passengers at our airports,” the release said.

All the other measures, which were slated to expire yesterday, therefore continue to remain in effect, OPM said.

Some of these are:

• The gathering limit will remain at 15 people until November 30, 2020.

• The ban on funeral services and parties or events will continue until November 30, 2020. Burials will continue to be allowed with strict observation and enforcement of the 15-person rule.

• Regular church or religious services operating in compliance with the established protocols may continue. However, congregants are reminded that gatherings in excess of 15 individuals are not allowed outside the place of worship.

• The restrictions applicable to hospitals, nursing homes and infirmaries remain in place until November 30, 2020.

• The age limit for the stay-at-home measure remains at 65 until November 30, 2020. Individuals 65 years and older must, therefore, continue to stay at home but are permitted to leave home once each day for the necessities of life.

“Given the high vulnerability of persons in this age group, particularly those with co-morbidities, we reiterate the importance of strict adherence,” OPM said.

The requirement to wear a mask fitted to cover the nose and mouth when in a public place, including a workplace and a licensed public passenger vehicle, remains in effect under the order without an expiry date, the release continued.

“We encourage all Jamaicans to strictly observe all the protocols and measures to control the spread of COVID-19 to save lives and preserve livelihoods,” OPM urged.

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