Jamaicans who have been forced to quarantine at a state facility by the government because of the COVID-19 will now have to start paying a part of the expense.
According to Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who was speaking in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, while the government is sensitive to poor Jamaicans, quarantining is too much of a cost to taxpayers.
“The Government of Jamaica has been very generous, very considerate and it has come at great cost to taxpayers that when we have to put in place state quarantine, the government pays and we have been paying,” Holnes said.
“As a matter of policy, the government cannot continue to do this and so if it becomes necessary for state quarantine to be implemented, then those persons who would be so affected should take this now as notice, that they would have to be prepared to pay.
“I am quite sensitive to the thinking of my Jamaican people in these matters, in that the sense of empathy, the sense of understanding for the poor is that the government should pay and we have done it for as long as we can, because there is an economic reality, which we will see in the budget to come that we will have to now be far more strategic in what we are doing,”
Holness said that this is the situation in other countries, but he insisted that should the situation arise that Jamaica should impose state quarantine on individuals, the government will ensure that the cost is affordable to these people.
Meanwhile, Holness said the police would be enforcing the home quarantining measures, especially since the island has had a spike in COVID-19 cases over the past few days.
“We have no hesitation in saying to the security forces that they must now go full force as much as they can, in enforcing the orders of quarantining at home,” Holness said.