PM: It's not a lockdown

PM: It's not a lockdown

Holness outlines exemptions under nightly curfew

BY BALFORD HENRY
Senior staff reporter
balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

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PRIME Minister Andrew Holness made it clear yesterday that Government's seven-day nightly curfew — from 8:00 pm to 6:00 am — starting tonight, is not a lockdown of the country.

The curfew, announced at a Jamaica House press conference Monday, is part of Government's measure to fight the deadly novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“We are not at that [lockdown] stage. It is not a tool that we are using yet,” Holness said in a statement to the House of Representatives, from which Opposition members were absent for the entire sitting.

“... [We] ask persons to stay at home, which is a recommended public health strategy, and is not only Jamaica that is doing that. That is being done all over the world. Some of us would have seen videos where other countries are taking really extreme measures. Jamaica would never do that,” Holness stated.

“We have been very gradual in what we are doing, very strategic in the application of measures so we manage to keep the economy going. I have seen other countries say that they are shutting down for 30 days. We have seen countries say that they are shutting down, not with daily curfews, but a curfew for 14 days and seven days — nothing moves. We are not doing that,” he added.

However, he noted that with the police now being asked to enforce the tougher conditions of a curfew instead of simply reminding people to stay at home and they comply, it would have been much easier if the citizens of the country had identification from the national identification system (NIDS).

Yesterday's meeting of the House was delayed nearly three hours as Government MPs waited on a quorum, at one time hoping for Opposition MPs to turn up. The Opposition explained that a late invitation to the sitting, which they were informed Monday would be postponed, made it difficult for its members to attend.

Holness later read out the conditions of the Disaster Risk Management (Enforcement Measures No 20 (Amendment) (No.2) Order, 2020, as follows:

• Longer opening hours for markets: With effect from April 2, 2020 markets shall operate only during the hours between 6:00 am and 2:00 pm on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays; and from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

• Each person entering Jamaica after March 18, 2020 shall forthwith contact the Ministry of Health and Wellness, either through their website https://jamcovid19. moh. gov.jm/ or e-mail covid19@moh.gov.jm; or by calling several numbers, including 888-663-5683, 888-754-7792, 876-542-5998, 876-542-6007 or 876-542-6006. They are also required to provide the information requested by the ministry for the purpose of measures to combat the risk of transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 (Coronavirus COVID-19).

• During the period from April 1, 2020 to April 8, 2020, commencing at 8:00 pm on April 1, 2020 and ending at 6:00 am on April 8, 2020, each person shall remain indoors from 8:00 pm to 6:00 am each day.

However, this does not apply to the following:

• Members of both Houses of Parliament (MPs and senators) and persons employed to the Houses of Parliament; permanent secretaries; any member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force or the Jamaica Defence Force; any person employed in a service concerning the provision of health, water, electricity, public works, sanitation, firefighting, civil aviation or telecommunications.

• Veterinary surgeons, licensed under the Veterinary Act; immigration and Customs officers; correctional services officers; persons employed in the transportation of agricultural produce or livestock or employed in the poultry industry (including catching crew, poultry processing plant staff and the staff of feed mills); persons employed in the sugar cane industry; persons employed to tourism establishments, as defined by the Public Health (Tourist Establishments) Regulations, 2000;

• Persons employed in services connected to oil refining and with the loading, distribution, transportation or retail of petroleum fuel, liquefied natural gas (LNG) or any renewable energy source; persons employed in services connected to the loading and unloading of ships and with the storage and delivery of goods at, or from docks, wharves and warehouses operated in connection docks or wharves; persons employed in the provision of public transportation by the Jamaica Urban Transit Company or the Montego Bay Metro Company Limited;

• The judiciary and persons employed to the courts; persons employed to the business processing outsourcing sector; persons employed to the media (such as journalists, television or radio presenters, camera operators, announcers, engineers, technicians and newspaper delivery personnel;

• Persons employed to private security companies; persons employed to the Jamaica Printing Services Limited; persons employed to the Toll Authority established under the Toll Roads Act; persons employed to courier services; persons employed in the bauxite or alumina industries; persons authorised in writing by the director general of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management; and, persons employed in any service or activity designated in writing by the minister with responsibility for national security, with the approval of the Cabinet, as an exempt service or activity under this sub-paragraph, for the purposes of that employment, service, activity or authorization or duties as such member as the case may be.

During the period in which the whole Jamaica is declared a disaster area, exempted persons shall, on being requested by an authorised officer, produce satisfactory proof of identification. During the period also the employer of the exempted persons shall ensure that transportation is provided between the place of employment and the person's abode or residence.


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