Latest News

Ministry outlines special additional measures to fight Covid-19

KINGSTON, Jamaica: A special series of policies, programmes and measures have been put together as the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development’s structured and initial response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The measures, which were agreed to by the Mayors of the 14 municipalities, are aimed at securing the health integrity of our vulnerable population in our infirmaries as well as those who interact with them; safeguarding the indoor and outdoor poor on the Poor Relief List, as well as safeguarding the homeless.

Minister Desmond McKenzie said that the homeless street population, which numbers more than 200 persons, will be provided for.

“We will also be assisting our homeless population, over 50% of which is in the Corporate Area. Drop-In Centres are active in all parishes, and the homeless who go there will be given meals as well as care packages,” he outlined.

“They will also undergo the sanitization procedures, and their temperatures will be taken. We will also be reaching out as far as is possible to those who congregate in known areas outside of the Drop-In Centres, to care for them in this way.”

The Municipal Corporations will also be assisted with an overall J$16 million in funding to sanitize the areas where the homeless tend to congregate.

Minister McKenzie also emphasized that J$50m has also been allocated for the municipalities to provide water to communities affected by severe drought conditions, and to ensure that its minor water supply systems are operational and have adequate amount of the commodity.

The new opening hours for the public markets across the country will remain from 6am to 2pm. They will also observe the new crowd restriction of no more than 10 persons to be gathered in any one place.

Distinct protocols have also been established at all infirmaries and golden age homes where both employees and service providers will go through security and special screening including temperature checks before they are allowed entry to these facilities.

Come March 30, a special sanitization programme will be introduced at these facilities over three days, through a collaboration between the municipal corporations; Jamaica Fire Brigade, Jamaica Defence Force, National Solid Waste Management Authority, and the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management.

“The Municipal Corporations will double their normal cleaning staff during this period, and the Ministry is providing funding for the procurement of cleansing and related material worth an overall $41.5 million,” Minister McKenzie concluded.

Special Covid-19 measures at the Ministry’s facilities

KINGSTON, Jamaica: The Ministry of Local Government and Community Development has announced a raft of containment measures for operations within its portfolio responsibility in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Access to the state-operated 13 infirmaries and two golden age homes have been restricted and no new patient will be admitted to these facilities over a 30-day period.

“The virus has proven to be devastating on senior members of the population. We are taking steps to protect our senior citizens against Covid-19,” said Portfolio Minister, Honourable Desmond McKenzie.

“We are taking measures to safeguard the over 2500 residents and staff at these facilities. The restriction on visits to infirmaries is critical and the necessary precautionary measures will be put in place to ensure the safety of all. We are dealing are dealing with a population of persons who fall in the category of persons most vulnerable to the disease.”

To date, Jamaica has at least 15 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, Covid-19.

The Minister also gave instructions for isolation areas to be identified at these facilities.

“Some infirmaries already have these facilities of that nature but for those that do not have, we will commence construction immediately, working with the Ministry of Health and Wellness on the guidelines for establishing these facilities.”

The Ministry will also be using the town criers in the different communities to sensitize and provide updates for persons who do not have access to social media and or the internet.

Temporary workers will also be hired to enable the continuous cleaning and sanitization of the infirmaries and golden-age homes daily.

The public markets across the island will also come into special focus as the respective municipal corporations, which are charged with its operations, will undertake sanitization exercises. The markets will now operate from 6am to 2pm during the special containment measures announced by the government.

Prime Minister, Most Honourable Andrew Holness has also directed Minister McKenzie to truck water to communities that are outside of the National Water Commission’s utility areas and are served by the minor water supply systems

“In the Ministry of Local Government, we have started to create what we call water shops in several parishes and with this added responsibility, we are giving the assurance that we will work collectively to ensure that those communities that are desperately in need of the precious commodity will have it,” added Minister McKenzie.

New measures announced by the Government to help reduce the spread of COVID-19

The Most Honourable Andrew Holness, Prime Minister, yesterday announced some additional measures to help stem the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Please take note of these measures listed below:

  • All Travellers to Jamaica from countries where there is local transmission of COVID-19 will be self-quarantined for 14 days.
  • Hospital visits are now limited to one person per patient once per day.
  • There should be no gathering of more than 20 persons in public spaces. If there is a gathering, individuals must maintain the required 3-feet distance from each other. (Weddings and Funerals included).
  • Bars, night clubs and other places of amusement are to be closed. Restaurants and corner shops will remain open due to the essential service they provide; however, they must adhere to the sanitation protocol stipulated by the Government.
  • Markets will now be opened from 6am to 2pm
  • Jamaica Urban Transit Company and Montego Bay Metro buses are required to carry seated passengers only.
  • Taxis are required to carry one less passenger than their licence allows.
  • The Government will now implement a policy in the public sector, starting March 18, 2020 that requires all non-essential work to be done from home. This policy will last for seven days.