Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Jamaica extends nationwide curfew, with varied hours, through April 21 due to COVID-19 activity. Nonessential business and services limited.

This alert affects Jamaica

This alert began 09 Apr 2020 09:02 GMT and is scheduled to expire 21 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least April 21
  • Impact: Major transport and commercial disruptions, increased security

Authorities in Jamaica have extended the nationwide curfew, imposed with varied hours, through at least April 21. The nightly curfew was first imposed April 1 to halt the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Under the curfew, the government will continue to enforce restrictions on public movements. Essential services and other critical industries will be exempt. The new curfew hours are:

  • 2000 April 8-0600 April 9
  • 2000 April 9-0700 April 10
  • A 1500-0700 curfew will be imposed daily April 10-13
  • 1500 April 13-0500 April 14
  • A 2100-0500 curfew will be imposed daily April 14-21

The government has also mandated the use of face masks for certain at-risk individuals in public April 8-21. These include individuals over the age of 65, individuals with respiratory or flu-like symptoms, persons caring for individuals with respiratory or flu-like symptoms, and individuals with other conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. Other domestic restrictive measures remain in place, including a ban on all gatherings of more than 10 people. Most nonessential business has been suspended; however, markets, supermarkets, and pharmacies remain open.

Jamaica has closed all airports and seaports to inbound international passenger traffic since March 21. Outgoing traffic and incoming cargo shipments are not subject to the closure; however, departing passenger flights have become significantly limited. It is unclear when airports and seaports will reopen. Jamaican authorities have also banned entry for all nonresidents as of March 22, and for most citizens and legal residents as of March 23.

The measures in place will significantly impact business and transport in the country, with larger than usual police presence in the streets. All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice.

Background and Analysis
The measure adopted by the government corresponds with similar actions taken by other regional governments in recent days in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements, anticipating that international travel will mostly be canceled. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm non-emergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent hand-washing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

World Health Organization (WHO):