The Miami Herald newspaper has commended Jamaica on its rapid response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Jamaica was one of the first nations in the Caribbean to take strong action on COVID-19. The first case was identified in Jamaica on March 10, 2020, after which the country prohibited flights from identified “hot zones” and limited the movement of tourists. It also enforced quarantines for new arrivals in the country and canceled schools, in addition to other measures. The entire town of Bull Bay was placed in quarantine and locked down in response to the virus. The country then went on to shut down its international airports to all incoming visitors for at least two weeks beginning on March 21, 2020. The country now has identified 26 cases of the virus.
As the entire world faces the threats posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, some locations are well prepared to handle the situation. Some cities, counties, and countries took steps early to mitigate the spread of the virus, and it is believed these early interventions are having a beneficial effect. Health care professionals remain cautious, however, and say that it is too soon to know whether the strong measures are actually working.
Countries in the Caribbean – including Jamaica – are following the lead of Puerto Rico, which acted early on the pandemic. While Florida’s government continued to allow spring breakers to party at South Beach, Governor Wanda Vazquez of Puerto Rico closed all of her island’s beaches, along with all non-essential businesses, schools and government offices and imposed a mandatory night curfew for residents. She told people to stay indoors until the end of March 2020. She ultimately obtained permission from the United States federal government to close Puerto Rico’s airport to commercial flights. Puerto Rico is a territory of the US and is subject to its authority. In addition to Jamaica, other regional jurisdictions have taken forceful actions to address the pandemic.
Miami Beach in Florida issued a stay-at-home order for its residents by March 26, and other cities in Dade County have followed its lead, although some towns are only “recommending” the move and not mandating it.
There is an COVID-19 tracker available at Jamaicans.com that provides up-to-date information about the steps Jamaica has taken to confront the virus outbreak.
Information and Photo Source: Miami Herald Online/Newspaper, 123rf