COVID-related changes will be made, according to the PM. A total of 19 metrics will now be dependent on vaccination levels.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the government is moving away from frequent lockdown modifications and toward fewer curfew hours as a long-term solution to the COVID-19 problem.
“We are now shifting away from more frequent measure modifications and toward a strategy that will include a fixed set of metrics that will be sensitive to the level of immunization received rather than outbreaks. The government has reached a point where it can no longer impose these broad, indiscriminate policies.
“Once we’ve shown that we’re safe and that vaccination levels are high, we’ll consider making adjustments to the event protocols.” However, with just 7% [complete] vaccination, the national focus must now be on boosting immunization. These policies will not alter until the country achieves a sustained and high level of vaccination,” he emphasized.
Meanwhile, the prime minister said he was aware of the debate about a vaccine mandate, but that the government will focus on other issues. “We cannot be compared to other Eastern Caribbean countries. We have other issues, which requires this government to place a greater emphasis on education and public engagement,” he says.
He anticipated that the situation will eventually devolve into a system of “differential treatment” for people who are and are not vaccinated. “We’ve seen that arise for public health reasons all across the world,” he added. Holness claimed that everyone in Jamaica has a responsibility to defend themselves, their families, and the general population.
“It can’t be that I perform my civic duty and get vaccinated, but someone who shirks their obligation and duty, sometimes for no good reason other than ignorance and malice, gets a free ride. Every person has a responsibility and an obligation to help our society recover from its crises. While I appreciate the perspectives of those who are truly afraid or reluctant, rationality must eventually prevail,” he added.
Nightly curfews will begin at 6:00 p.m. on Saturdays, continue through Sundays, and expire at 5:00 a.m. on Mondays from September 18 to October 28. Monday through Friday, the curfew will begin at 8:00 p.m. and expire at 5:00 a.m. the next day.
The 18th of October has been declared as a “no-movement” day.
The adjustment in the curfew hour from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm, according to Holness, is designed to allow people more time to go home, not to ease up the measures.
The maximum number of persons allowed in a gathering stays at ten; twenty for religious groups, marriages, and exceptional general assemblies. Burials with a maximum of 15 persons are permitted, except on holidays and no-movement days. Funeral ceremonies with a maximum of 20 guests are permitted as of September 18, and the public sector’s work-from-home policy remains in effect.