Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Jamaica to impose nationwide 1800-0600 curfew April 22-May 6 due to COVID-19 activity. Borders to remain closed through May 31.

This alert affects Jamaica

This alert began 21 Apr 2020 09:15 GMT and is scheduled to expire 06 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least May 6
  • Impact: Major transport and commercial disruptions, increased security

Summary
Authorities in Jamaica have announced stricter curfew measures effective April 22-May 6 to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The curfew will be imposed daily 1800-0600; essential services will be exempt. Public work hours will be restricted to 0800-1600; supermarkets, pharmacies, and corner shops must close at 1700, and markets may open 0600-1600 Monday-Saturday. Saint Catherine Parish will remain under a 24-hour curfew, which has been in effect since April 15 due to a high number of confirmed COVID-19 cases.

The government has also mandated the use of face masks for certain at-risk individuals in public. 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.

International travel restrictions remain in place. Authorities extended the closure of the country's borders through May 31. 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. Jamaican authorities have also banned entry for all nonresidents as of March 22. Returning citizens and legal residents will be subject to strict health protocols.

Significant transport and business disruptions are likely. Authorities will likely keep an increased police presence deployed to enforce the restrictions. All measures 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.

Advice
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.

Resources
World Health Organization (WHO): www.who.int

Jamaica Information Service: www.jis.gov.jm