St Mary residents thankful as quarantine ends

St Mary residents thankful as quarantine ends

Observer correspondent

Friday, May 22, 2020

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RESIDENTS of Dover and Enfield — two of the St Mary communities recently placed under lockdown to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) — expressed joy at yesterday's end of the two-week quarantine.

They, however, said they were grateful that the Government took steps to protect them from the virus. Dover, Enfield and Annotto Bay were placed under lockdown after 16 people from those sections of St Mary tested positive for COVID-19. Three others were found to be positive during tests carried out during the lockdown.

When the Jamaica Observer visited the two communities yesterday morning soldiers and police who were assigned to man barriers had all left, and tents they erected all taken down. Two abandoned barriers and a portable toilet were the only evidence that there had been a presence by the security forces to keep the residents in check.

At Dover, Oakley Abrahams, who was seen setting up his stall with goods for sale, was happy to be able to be out on the street earning again. “I feel great that it (novel coronavirus) come and I no ketch it, but it is sad that we lost lives, said Abrahams. A juggle mi juggle and I couldn't do anything or get anything for the past few days because mi lock down. A hustling mi do selling banana, apple, ackee and things like that, so I am going to get some and start later but mi a secure the stall. The quarantine thing was good but mi glad it finish now,” he said.

Anthony “Sangy” Fraser, who operates a shop near the Enfield Primary and Junior High School, said: “It was just unfortunate as the business went down, but we have to understand, as if we don't we are not going to make it. We have to do the right thing and they have to do the right thing also.

“School closed early so I was affected as not much business was done but the people in the community cooperated. Here I followed the guidelines — the social distancing, washing of hand and wearing mask — and persons coming to the shop cooperated,” he said. He also had sanitisers for individuals to use as they enter the shop.

Lois Mendez-Ballentine, of Enfield, said yesterday was the first time she had left her house since the quarantine was imposed. “I was locked in for two weeks and because I have an underlying illness I obeyed the orders. I came out to look for my sister and I am [also] going to look for my mother who is 81 years old. During the time we communicated by phone, but my brother lives with her so that made it easier,” said Mendez-Ballentine.

She told the Observer that most people in the community, especially the older ones, had cooperated with the security forces and health officials. “We got two of the care packages and this was good as we were under lockdown and it helped. We now have to follow the guidelines set by the Ministry fo Health and keep safe,” she said.

Yesterday, two boys — grade nine students of the Annotto Bay High School — who were seen going fishing when the newspaper was on a tour of Enfield, said they missed school, which has been closed since the first COVID-19 case was announced in March. “We got some work to do [during the lockdown] and it was manageable, especially the mathematics,” said Anthony Thompson. “I miss going to school as I would have gotten more work to do,” said his friend Ramain Thompson. “I got some work to do but the Internet connection was bad. Sometimes the work comes in late but I could get some more work to do,” he said.

Renford Sheriffe, a tailor, was seen yesterday riding his bicycle whilst carrying a bag of masks. “I have been making masks for the last two months to make ends meet as I sew pants, jackets, shirts, blouses, etc. But that business gone down and I have to live. It has not been too bad here in Enfield as I sell them for $250 each, but if they don't have it I take $200,“ said the tailor. “The lockdown was for a good [cause] and we had to obey, but it is good that it has ended. We have to follow the guidelines to keep healthy and well, and I'm trying to help keep that process going,” he said.

Another Enfield resident, Donald Farknott, who was seen pushing a wheel barrow containing two jugs for water from the spring, said he was happy to have had the soldiers around as the place was quiet and people felt safe. He said people must now practise social distancing, wash hands often and wear massk so as not to spread the virus.

The town of Annotto Bay, meanwhile, was buzzing with activity with the streets busy with vehicles. Several pedestrians were also seen going about their business freely for the first time in two weeks.

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