KINGSTON, Jamaica, April 8, 2020 (CMC) – Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, has announced that the government will extend the current, island-wide, nightly curfew.
Other measures to address the COVID19 pandemic, including working from home, closure of the island’s borders, and others, will also be extended, in accordance with the relevant Orders, which will be outlined by the Prime Minister, in an update to the nation later today .
Meanwhile, the Cabinet has approved the outfitting of the National Arena, for use as a 72-bed field hospital, to respond to any surge in local COVID-19 cases.
According to Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Dunstan Bryan, the decision made, following reconnaissance of the facility, by the Ministry, the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, and the management of the National Arena.
“We looked at what the dimensions and the specifications of the existing infrastructure were, and we looked at the scope of work, in terms of what is required for us to establish a field hospital, for the National Arena,” Bryan said, during a virtual meeting of the Special Select Committee of Parliament, yesterday.
The Permanent Secretary informed that the Health Ministry is in the process of finalising the design of the field hospital.
“The financing is $182 million, and Cabinet has asked that the lead, on the implementation of this… be the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF),” he disclosed.
The field hospital will be used as an isolation facility, said Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie.
“Therefore, it will be confirmed cases and, at most, mildly symptomatic persons. We are reserving the hospitals for the moderate to severely ill persons and, also, we would have to take into consideration, even the mildly symptomatic persons, who have several co-morbid illnesses that would put them at risk for severe illness. Those will also be prioritised to be put into the regular hospital setting,” she explained.
Jamaica now has 63 confirmed cases of COVID-19, of which 29 are females and 34 are males. To date, three patients have died from the virus, while nine have fully recovered and have been released.