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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.