PRIME Minister Andrew Holness has urged Jamaicans not to panic despite the sharp spike in the COVID-19 numbers in recent days.
Up to Tuesday the island had recorded 68,482 cases of the virus with 1,549 deaths and 18,103 active cases.
But Holness, in a media briefing last evening, said there was no need for Jamaicans to panic as the Government is doing its best to deal with the present challenge.
“It is a difficult time… and I know many people are panicking, many persons are distressed, and a lot of people don’t know what to believe, what to think. But someone who was… being interviewed [on a radio programme] said something that is very important, ‘Now is not the time to panic,’ ” declared Holness.
“And it is one thing that I don’t do ever is to panic, and I don’t think that Jamaica should panic. We have this situation under control, [even though] it is not a situation where we have all of the variables under control.
“It is not a situation where things have happened that should not have happened but, in general, I think we have done what is necessary to bring the situation under control and to rapidly end this curve, and I think the measures that are in place… are doing that,” added Holness after announcing the extended lockdown measures as the island continues to record troubling COVID-19 numbers.
Following a record 929 new cases on Saturday, the island recorded 739 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, 729 on Monday, and 351 on Tuesday, prompting the Government to extend the no-movement days that have been in place across the island over the past two weeks.
Holness used the address to the nation last evening to announce that the island will be under no- movement days from this Sunday, September 5 to Tuesday, September 7. The no-movement period will resume on September 12 and extend to September 14, while the daily curfews will be in effect from 7:00 pm to 5:00 am Mondays to Fridays and begin at 6:00 pm on Saturdays.
According to Holness, the aim of the Government is to reduce the spike in COVID-19 cases as soon as possible before taking a serious look at resourcing the nation’s health care going forward.
“When we are in these types of situations where spikes are going to occur, the solution is not always going to be provide more… the solution, first and foremost, has to be how do we get the citizens to change behaviour and, therefore, reduce [risks] to themselves and risks to population and keep the number of infections low,” said Holness.