Friday, 11 February 2022 07:00

11PM Curfew Until February 25

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Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, has announced further revisions of the coronavirus (COVID-19) containment measures under the Disaster Risk Management Act (DRMA), effective Friday (February 11).

The revised measures, which include relaxation of the nightly curfew hours, are based on declines in the COVID-19 indicators, particularly infections and hospitalisations.

In a statement to the House of Representatives on Thursday (February 10), Mr. Holness said that following Cabinet deliberations, the times of the nightly curfews are being reduced by an additional hour and will now run from 11:00 p.m. to five o’clock the following morning, for a two-week period, ending 5:00 a.m. on February 25.  

Additionally, he said that the current maximum 100 persons allowed to physically attend worship services will be increased to a determined capacity limit, based on the size of the venue.

“The maximum number of persons allowed to attend will be based on the size of the area designated for worship, divided by 36 sq. ft. As an example, a church with a worship area of 5,000 sq. ft. would be able to have 138 persons present,” the Prime Minister outlined.

He advised that all other measures would remain unchanged, adding that “in two weeks’ time, we will undertake a further review of the measures and consider a further widening of the guard rail”.

The Prime Minister emphasised that this is subject to a continuation of the downward trend in infections and hospitalisations.

Mr. Holness noted that the daily COVID-19 case count and the average number of new hospitalisations have been decreasing steadily.

He informed that the weekly positivity rate is showing a rapid decline from the peak of 53.5 per cent in January to 17.4  per cent, with the out-turn for Thursday (February 10) falling further to 14.9 per cent.

The Prime Minister also advised that the number of hospital beds occupied by persons suspected or confirmed to have contracted COVID-19 is below capacity.

Mr. Holness noted, further, that the weekly reproductive rate, which is the average number of additional persons infected by a single infected individual, is showing a rapid decline, falling from a peak of 2.35 in January, to 0.6.

“It is clear that all our indicators are showing rapid movement since our peak in January 2022. In line with the management strategy that I had outlined in this Honourable House in November 2021, the science and data would clearly support a widening of the guard rail to allow more economic activity,” he added.

The Prime Minister cautioned, however, that while the indicators continue to show improvement, “there is no room for complacency”.

He said that while the Government is widening the guard rails to allow more economic activity, “citizens must continue to diligently follow the protocols to keep themselves, their families and loved ones safe”.

Mr. Holness maintained that persons who are unvaccinated, particularly the elderly and those who are immunocompromised or have comorbidities, remain at high risk and must exercise a high degree of caution.

He pointed out that of all COVID-19-related deaths occurring since March 2021 when the vaccine became available, 98.4 per cent were unvaccinated.

The Prime Minister further noted that the case fatality rate, which indicates the percentage of persons in each age category testing positive for COVID-19 and succumbing as a result, shows that “the older you are, the higher the mortality rate”.

“The… risk is not the same for everyone. The risk increases exponentially for persons, age 60 and over. I, therefore, want to make a special appeal to persons over 60 and persons with comorbidities, to get vaccinated,” Mr. Holness emphasised.

He pointed out that the Government’s management of the pandemic has always been evidence-based, data-driven, proportionate and “situationally appropriate”.

“The changes to the measures I have announced today represent a continuation of the gradual and controlled process of getting our economy back to full productive capacity that I announced in November 2021. We will continue this process to give all Jamaicans the opportunity to earn their livelihoods while protecting their health,” Prime Minister Holness added.