Sat | Oct 24, 2020

Ja’s COVID death toll inches closer to 100 - Minister says Cabinet continues assessment of further tightening of movement

Published:Tuesday | September 29, 2020 | 12:15 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer
Health & Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton speaking to a woman about the dangers of not wearing a mask correctly to protect herself from the coronavirus. Tufton and a team of health aides were downtown Kingston yesterday increasing awareness about CO
Health & Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton speaking to a woman about the dangers of not wearing a mask correctly to protect herself from the coronavirus. Tufton and a team of health aides were downtown Kingston yesterday increasing awareness about COVID-19 and handing out masks and sanitisers.

As the local COVID-19 death toll gets closer to 100 and the number of cases continues to rise daily, Health & Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton has said the Government remains open to implement stricter curtailment measures to tackle the community spread of the virus.

The minister said the Cabinet continues to assess the local outbreak and mull over the possibility for further tightening of the measures.

“Movement and restrictions of movement is an ongoing process that the Cabinet assesses periodically and makes a decision on, and if there’s a need for that (further restrictions), outside of what we have now, which are the curfew hours, then I am sure we will announce that in due course,” Tufton said.

Last week, the Government announced that the islandwide nightly curfew was being extended until next week Wednesday, October 7.

According to data released by the health ministry yesterday covering the period from the first case in March up to Sunday night, the island had recorded 6,170 confirmed cases of the coronavirus. Ninety-three persons have been confirmed dead from COVID-19 with nine other deaths under investigation. Some 149 persons were also said to be in hospital, 10 in critical condition.

Tufton said that with the rising cases, Jamaicans need to take greater responsibility in protecting themselves from the virus as, on average, the island records more than 100 additional cases daily.

Yesterday, he was downtown Kingston with a team of community health aides handing out masks, sanitisers and printed information on COVID-19.

“I think the team on the ground is having an impact, and I can understand why Jamaicans would be concerned because of the deaths and because of the positives. We have to maintain the on-the-ground presence, which is why the community health aides are so important,” he said.

“We are ... [here] to again highlight the message of wearing a mask in public, sanitising and imploring with the public for them to try their best to keep the six feet spacing,” the minister said.

About 1,000 community health aides have been hired and there are plans to recruit an additional 400 to go into communities and town centres and drive home the point on the importance of following the safety protocols and guidelines to reduce the number of infections and save lives.

“I understand that between Saturday and today (Monday), we have given out about 6,000 packages with masks, sanitisers and printed information in this vicinity alone. We are doing it across the country and its going to be more a feature of the ministry’s response,” Tufton said.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com