Jamaica has recorded 3,497 cases of COVID-19 over the past five days.
The country on Tuesday hit the 800-mark for the second time after 808 cases were recorded. The one-day record stands at 828, which was recorded on Sunday.
“A lockdown is not off the books. We have never been this close to it, but we are very close to it now,”
Prime Minister Andrew Holness said on Monday.
Holness said that if the country’s COVID-19 numbers do not improve over the next three weeks he may be forced to implement the measure.
“We continue to observe the impact of the measures that we have already put in place,”
Holness said at a press briefing on Monday.
“Where we are now, the measures we have put in place, we have given three weeks for them to work. If they don’t work then there would be measures to come,”
The Jamaican Government has imposed a ban on funerals and burials for two weeks, effective Monday, March 8. Church services in buildings are prohibited; no more than 10 persons are allowed to gather in any place; bars must close their doors by 6 p.m. and parties and events have been banned and schools have been shut to face-to-face learning, except for students preparing for external examinations. In addition, there is a nightly curfew that starts at 8 p.m. and many public sector workers have been told to work from home.
Health officials are hoping that the measures will help slow the spread of COVID-19 on the island.
Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton said that the country’s hospitals are running out of space for COVID-19 patients.
“The present state of hospitalization continues to be alarming. 13 of 22 hospitals across the island Are in the red alert zone, which means that they have greater than 84 per cent occupancy level for its isolation capacity. Twelve of the 13 hospitals are at 100 percent capacity or greater,”
The minister said that daily COVID-19 admissions to hospitals have increased from 49 during the week February 22-28, to 56 last week.
“So clearly (it) is going in the very wrong direction and adding to the stresses of the public health system,”
In the meantime, the health minister said that it appears people are not following the protocols at work as there has been an increase in the number of outbreaks in work places.
“In Kingston and St Andrew alone, the health department is currently managing some 46 active clusters,”
the minister said.