Jamaican News

Jamaicans Urged To Obey Social Distancing Rules

Members of the public are again being urged to do their part to reduce transmission of the coronavirus (COVID-19) by strictly adhering to the Government’s social-distancing protocols.

The call came from Chief Medical Officer (CMO) in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Dr. Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie, who said that social distancing remains one of the most effective defences in combatting the virus.

The Ministry is recommending that persons stay at least three feet apart when they are out in public, especially when among persons who are coughing, sneezing or presenting flu-like symptoms; and that gatherings in any public space should not exceed 10 persons at a time.

The CMO, who was addressing a virtual press conference from Jamaica House on Monday (March 30), noted that the average person infected with COVID-19 contaminates between two and 2.5 people.

She said projections by the Ministry indicate that over a 30-day period, this number can expand rapidly, with an estimated 406 persons potentially being infected if social distancing is not carefully practised.

“That is a significant number of persons. However, if it is that we reduce the exposure by social distancing and we reduce that social exposure by 75 per cent, having looked at the projections, we see that by day 30, we would only have 2.5 persons infected [by that one person],” she noted.

She pointed out, further, “if it is that we reduce social exposure by 50 per cent, then we would have about 15 persons that are infected by that one person over a 30- day period”.

“I want everyone to understand the difference we can make by social distancing and reducing your exposure to other persons,” Dr. Bisasor-McKenzie stressed.

She is appealing for persons to avoid crowded areas and social interactions that increase the likelihood of transmission of the virus.

“You have to stay home. That is the first thing. Stay home, and wherever else you may go, maintain social distancing. A significant amount of infections can result by one person being careless; that one person attending any kind of social gathering where they pass on the infection to other persons and then those persons continuing to be in social circumstances where they are passing it on,” she said.

Jamaica has 38 confirmed cases of COVID-19 to date.

Other social-distancing rules that the Government has implemented include an islandwide curfew from 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. for seven days beginning April 1; restricting the opening hours for markets, bars, and nightclubs; directing public-sector workers, 65 years and older to work from home, subject to specified exemptions, and senior citizens, aged 75 and over, being asked to remain at home, for an initial 14 days, as at March 25, also subject to exemptions.

Additionally, non-essential public-sector employees are working from home for an additional 14 days, as at March 25; and schools will remain closed until the end of the Easter break.


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