Several thousand Persons now belong to a group that landed on the island between March 18 and 24 and did not report to the authorities even though they were required by law to do so, they are now barred completely from leaving the country.
The Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) was instructed to enforce the ban, Andrew Holness the Prime Minister said when he spoke at a Jamaica House press conference on Friday. The persons are currently effectively on a watch list.
The Prime Minister repeated his warning, those persons who continue putting the health of the entire nation at risk by not adhering to an order to contact the authorities and self-quarantine at home, will face prosecution.
They now face imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $1 million, and could be forced into Government-run quarantine facilities if they are found. The search is now active as it’s important for the persons to be found.
Additional measures might be implemented and their names could be ultimately published in the press.
The latest warning from Mr. Holness came on the day that Jamaica recorded its 63rd case of COVID-19, it has been one month since jamaica recorded it’s first case of the disease.
By not reporting to the Ministry of Health and Wellness these persons are violating the Disaster Risk Management Act and now they are potentially exposing others to the virus as they move throughout the country, a situation that could lead to rapid community spread.
The prime minister had reported before that approximately 1,600 of the persons who entered the island during the specific period, had subsequently left, and about 900 have reported to the Health Ministry as required since the call went out.
“We will now, charge people as we find them. And we will now, where required or as necessary, place them into state quarantine,” Mr. Holness said at the press conference.
“Those persons continue to pose a public health risk, they continue to pose a very high threat to the health and also the lives of all Jamaicans as it relates to the transmission of COVID-19,” he said.
“There are those who might say ‘they can’t find me’. Well, we may not be able to find you, but you will not be able to leave the island, and we will tighten our dragnet to find you,” he warned.
A total of 907 people have been tested in Jamaica, Mr. Holness explained that Jamaica is doing “fairly well” when compared to other Caribbean islands however there is no need for complacency.
He also stated that Jamaicans need to adapt to the new way of life by following the guidelines.