COVID-19: Press Releases And Documents Related To Official Government Actions

COVID-19: Press Releases and Documents Related to Official Government Actions

Click here for COVID-19: Official Press Releases From The Ministry Of Health And Wellness

In reverse chronological order:

April 16 – BPOs Closed in St. Catherine

PM Holness Extends Opening Hours for Restocking in St. Catherine and BPOs Ordered Closed

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced that all Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) operators in St. Catherine have been closed effective yesterday, April 15, 2020.


Prime Minister Holness explained in Parliament yesterday (April 15) that the closure is to facilitate an investigation into the management structure to identify the cause for the rapid COVID-19 spread.

“The closure is necessary for us to access and determine whether or not there was a systemic breakdown in the management, supervision, and practices in BPO operations in the parish and to contain the spread of the virus within the sector as we know that staff is circulated to branches,” said Prime Minister Holness.

According to Prime Minister Holness, all employees at the affected call centre have been placed under quarantine for 14 days.

The Prime Minister also advised other BPOs in operation across the island that it is in their best interest not to accept any employee from the St. Catherine BPO in question until the quarantine period has ended as it would put them in violation of the quarantine act.

Moreover, Prime Minister Holness announced an extension of the time for restocking to limit crowding in public places on Wednesday, April 15 and Saturday, April 18. The amendments are as follows;

  • Persons 65 years and older, pregnant women and the disabled will be permitted to conduct the essentials of life between 8 am and 10 am on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
  • Persons with surnames beginning with A to H will be permitted to pursue the essentials of life between 10 am and 1:30 pm.
  • Persons with surnames beginning with I to P will be permitted to pursue the essentials of life between 1:30 pm and 5 pm.
  • Persons with surnames beginning with Q to Z will be permitted to pursue the essentials of life between 5 pm and 8:30 pm.
  • Businesses that can operate will, therefore, be open at 8 am and close at 8:30 pm on Wednesday and Saturday only. This is to facilitate those of the Seventh Day Adventist Faith after Sabbath. The employees are permitted to arrive at 7 am and leave at 9 pm.
In the meantime, Prime Minister Holness noted that new regulations such as temperature checks before entry, strict spacing/social distancing will be implemented in BPOs. 

In that regard, the Government is putting call centres on notice that the Ministry of Health and Wellness and the Jamaica Special Economic Zone Authority will be reviewing their operations to ensure that they are in keeping with the standards set out by the Ministry with the requirements of their license.

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April 15 – St. Catherine Lockdown

St. Catherine has been Placed Under Lockdown for Seven Days

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced that the parish of St. Catherine has been placed under lockdown for seven days from 5 am Wednesday, April 15 to 5 am Wednesday, April 22, 2020, to slow the spread of COVID-19.The announcement comes on the heels of Jamaica reaching 105 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with a recent 33 coming from St. Catherine. The health officials have traced the recent jump in cases to a call centre operating in Portmore.

The objective of the lockdown is to slow as much as possible the spread of the virus,” said Prime Minister Holness

During the lockdown, one person from each household will be allowed to conduct the essentials of life on Wednesday, April 15 and Saturday April 18, 2020. In addition;

  • If a person is ill with respiratory illnesses or flu-like symptoms, they are required to stay home and isolate themselves from others in their household.
  • All persons in St. Catherine out in public places must have an ID with a visible photograph. Acceptable IDs include; voters ID, passport, driver’s license, ID from a Ministry or Agency, University ID, and School ID.
  • Medical Emergencies will be facilitated as they arise.
  • Persons 65 years and older, pregnant women and persons with disability  will be permitted to conduct the essentials of life between 8:00 am and 10:00 am on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
  • The police and military are to allow the elderly to be accompanied by persons where needed.
  • Persons with surnames beginning with A to M will be permitted to pursue the essentials of life between 10:00 am and 1:30 pm.
  • Persons with surnames beginning with N to Z will be permitted to pursue the essentials of life between 1:30 pm and 5:00 pm.
  • All persons must wear a mask covering their nose and mouth while in public places.
  • Businesses that are permitted to remain open will have a duty to put in place social distancing measures as persons use their services.
  • Markets in the parish of St. Catherine will be closed and almost all commercial activities will come to a halt with the exception of corner shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, hospitals, medical health centres, and gas stations.

In the meantime, the Commissioner of Police and Health Department have been charged with thoroughly investigating the St. Catherine outbreak and pursue charges if necessary.The Prime Minister also underscored that all entry and exit points into and out of the parish of St. Catherine will become checkpoints. Essential workers passing through these points will have to submit to temperature checks.

The list of persons exempted will be published.

The general curfew hours of 9:00 pm to 5:00 am remain in effect.

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April 7 – Nightly Curfew Extended

Government To Extend Islandwide Nightly Curfew

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced that the Government will extend the current islandwide nightly curfew.

Other measures to address the COVID19 pandemic including work from home, closure of the island’s borders and others will also be extended in accordance with the relevant Orders.
The Prime Minister will give details on the measures during an update to the nation tomorrow.

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March 31 – Nightly Curfews

PM Holness Announces Nightly Islandwide Curfews for 7 Days

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced nightly islandwide curfews for a period of seven (7) days with effect from 8:00pm on April 1, 2020 to 6:00am on April 8, 2020. This is the latest in a series of measures announced by the Government to contain the novel coronavirus, COVID19, in Jamaica.

The imposition of the curfew means, there will be restrictions on all movement of persons except for those in the medical services (doctors, nurses), persons in the Business Processing Outsourcing industry and other personnel who fall under the essential services, beyond the hours stipulated. Exempted persons will be required to produce valid identification. There will also be restrictions on public transportation.

The Prime Minister made the announcement last night (Monday, March 30) during a virtual press conference at Jamaica House.

Further to the announced amendment under the Disaster Risk Management Act, Prime Minister Holness informed that persons who arrived on the island between March 18-23, are now mandated to report to the Ministry of Health and Wellness via the website; or by contacting 888-ONE-LOVE (663-5683) and to “faithfully disclose all information that is required” including their health status and whether they have been observing the guidelines for self-quarantine.

Importantly, the Prime Minister noted that the country is reaching a “turning point” at this stage of the spread of the virus. He underscored that to date, 362 samples have been tested and of the amount 36 tested positive, 9 results are pending and the rest returned negative results.

In the meantime, the Prime Minister stated that, the opening hours of markets will now be extended from the previously announced 6:00am to 2:00pm, to a new time of 6:00am to 6:00pm from Thursday to Saturday. The Prime Minister observed that this extension will allow persons more time to complete their shopping without violating the rules of social distancing.

The Prime Minister reiterated that movement should be limited to homes as this will lessen the chances of the spread of the virus in the country. He again called on all Jamaicans to be responsible and to adhere to the measures announced by the Government.

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March 19 – Jamaica Issues Second Quarantine Order

Jamaica issues second (community) quarantine order

The Government of Jamaica has issued a second (community) quarantine order, this time for the Corn Piece settlement in Clarendon.

The imposition of the order was announced by Prime Minister Andrew Holness in Parliament on Thursday, March 19.

The announcement comes in the wake of the death of a 79-year-old man with a travel history from New York and who was confirmed to have the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) on March 18.

Since his death, also on March 18, members of his family, who reside in Corn Piece, have refused to comply with the requests of the public health team on the ground to remain at home.

“These persons would have been exposed to a symptomatic person and have a high risk for infection … The persons so exposed may be incubating the virus,” the PM said, explaining the justification for the quarantine.

“At this time, we are unsure of the number of persons in the community who have been so exposed and require that the community and the family comply with the quarantine order to conduct the necessary contact tracing and investigations,” he noted.

The PM, who expressed his sympathy for the family of the deceased man, was quick to add that the quarantine was not a ‘sentence’.

“We are not sentencing anybody. We are not taking away your liberty. You are not going to be abused. This is for your own benefit. The Jamaican state cannot take any risks with this disease,” Holness noted.

Corn Piece – like Seven and Eight Miles, Bull Bay in St Andrew before – will be under quarantine for the next 14 days. During that time, the public health investigations will be completed, even as residents are monitored closely for any signs of COVID-19. Early detection of symptoms will allow for early isolation and prevention of the transmission of the virus.

The boundary for the quarantine runs from its starting point along the private railroad track that is located to the east of the community then heads in a southerly direction for approximately two hundred and thirty metres (230m).

It continues in a southwesterly direction to a point just south of the Corn Piece Settlement community along the gully way and then in a northerly direction along another gully way for a distance of approximately 530m to a point west of the three-way junction leading into the Corn Piece Community. It then runs in an easterly direction and terminates at the start point at the private railroad track.

Jamaica has confirmed sixteen (16) COVID-19 cases. Eleven (11) of that number are imported cases and five (5) are contacts of the first case that was detected.

There are 39 persons currently in isolation at hospitals across the island, Twenty-five (25) of that number are in Government quarantine facilities and ninety-nine (99) in home quarantine.

Contact tracing is underway for all cases while five hundred and seventy-seven (577) contacts are being followed.

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March 15 – Travellers Must Self-Quarantine

Travellers from countries with COVID-19 must self-quarantine

The Ministry of Health and Wellness is advising that effective Monday, March 16, all travelers from countries where there is local transmission of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) will now be required to self-quarantine for up to 14 days.

If during that time they develop symptoms, they are to contact the Ministry at the COVID-19 line: 888-754-7792 or at 888-ONE-LOVE (663-5683). Additional numbers to call are 876-542-5998, 876-542-6007 and 876-542-6006. Be advised that these numbers are experiencing heavy call volumes but the Ministry will get to your call as soon as possible.

Jamaicans who may have had contact with anyone who is symptomatic are also asked to self-quarantine and to contact the Ministry.

The Ministry, with the backing of the whole of Government, continues to move aggressively to curtail the spread of COVID-19 and urge the public’s continued cooperation to safeguard public health. Members of the public are therefore reminded to:

  • Maintain a distance of at least one metre from persons who are coughing or sneezing.
  • Frequently perform hand hygiene by washing hands thoroughly with soap and water or using a hand sanitiser if hands are not visibly soiled.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and then discarding it.
  • And resist the habit to touch your face.

Further, public gatherings and non-essential travel are discouraged.

In addition to the numbers provided, information and updates on COVID-19 can be found at the Ministry’s website at and social media platforms @themohwgovjm. Members of the public may also email or for information.

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March 14 – UK Added To Travel Restrictions

United Kingdom added to Countries with Travel Restrictions

The United Kingdom will be added to list of countries, which travel restrictions have been imposed by the Government, as Jamaica continues to combat the spread of COVID-19. This is to become effective on Monday, March 16, 2020.

Persons who have arrived in Jamaica from the UK in the last 14 days are to self-report immediately to the Ministry of Health and Wellness by calling 888-754-7792 or 888-ONE-LOVE (663-5683).

In the meantime, the travel restriction means that:

  1. all Jamaicans who visited the countries of interest in the last 14 days would have landing privileges in accordance with the law but would be subject to a health assessment and quarantine;
  2. persons who visited countries of interest in the last 14 days and who do not have permanent residency or marriage exemption in Jamaica would not be granted landing privileges at any of the country’s ports of entry;
  3. non-Jamaicans who have permanent residence and marriage exemptions who were landed and who had visited countries of interest in the last 14 days would be subject to a health assessment and quarantine;
  4. persons who visited countries of interest and who are granted landing privileges and are classified by the Ministry of Health and Wellness as high risk will be quarantined in Government facilities; and those who are assessed by the Ministry of Health and Wellness as low-risk will be quarantined at home under the supervision of the Parish Health Department;
  5. individuals returning from countries of interest who are granted landing privileges and who display any symptom of the novel coronavirus 2019, as per the case definition published by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/World Health Organization (WHO), would be placed in immediate isolation at a Health Facility; and
  6.  Flight Crews who have transited through countries of interest will be landed in island but will be under self-quarantine arrangements. The following is expected in self-quarantine:
    • Stay alone in a well-ventilated room (Air Conditioned Unit on or Windows Open for airflow
    • There should be no sharing of bathroom facilities i.e. each room must be equipped with its own bathroom facility.
    • Delivery of food to the room via room service only
    • Persons do not leave the room except to return to the airport for the flight
    • HAVE NO contact with other members of the public inclusive of flight crew, friends and family.
    • WASH hands using soap and water before and after using the bathroom, coughing and sneezing
    • AVOID touching eyes and mouth especially after sneezing or coughing.
    • If symptoms of acute respiratory infection, including fever, cough, sore throat and difficulty breathing, then:
    • Contact the emergency services immediately
    • Wash hands with soap and water and put on a mask
    • Await help
    • Contact the MOHW at

The aforementioned conditions are stipulated for all vessels including aircraft and ships as per section 8 of the Quarantine Act, sanctioned by the Quarantine Authority.

The other countries, where these conditions apply include the previously announced countries – China, Iran, Singapore, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and South Korea.

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March 14 – Jamaica Declared A Disaster Area

Jamaica Declared a Disaster Area as COVID-19 Cases Increase and Two Communities Quarantined

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced the declaration of the entire island of Jamaica a Disaster Zone as a result of the effects of the global pandemic – the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Already eight persons have tested positive for the virus in Jamaica.

Prime Minister Holness announced the declaration last evening (March 13) under the powers provided to him under Section 26 (2) of the Disaster Risk Management Act. Additionally, two communities – seven miles and eight miles in Bull Bay St. Andrew – will be quarantined immediately.

“It is given our legal framework this now gives the Government authority to take certain measures. One measure is the quarantine of a community which is the seven-and-eight Miles area of Bull Bay. What it means is that the JCF and JDF has been deployed. There will be restrictions on the movement of people in an out of the community”, said Prime Minister Holness.

The quarantined communities will be given special attention by State Agencies with the Jamaica Constabulary Force and the Jamaica Defense Force being deployed in the areas.

Prime Minister Holness has asked that residents in the affected areas comply with the requests of health officials.

“This is not being treated like a curfew. I don’t want the citizens to feel like this is a security cordon on them. This is for their own benefit as well as for the rest of Jamaica’s benefit. The soldiers and police will be appropriately geared,” said the Prime Minister.

In the meantime, the Government has imposed travel restrictions on the United Kingdom. This brings to nine the number of countries on Jamaica’s restriction list.

Only citizens and persons who have residency or long stay arrangements or marriage exemptions will be landed in Jamaica. All other persons will not be landed at this time.

Persons from the UK who are landed will be required to be quarantined either at a facility or at home.

Additionally, the Ministry of Health and Wellness says those persons who have been landed in the island who feel they may be displaying symptoms of COVID-19 to self-identify and contact the Ministry.

In the meantime, Prime Minister Holness sought to reassure the nation that once the guidelines are followed the country will get through this health crisis which is affecting countries across the world.