COVID update: 5th wave confirmed-May 19, 2022

Health and wellness minister Tufton held a media briefing, on May 18, where he confirmed the existence of the 5th COVID wave in Jamaica, with infection, positivity and reproductive rates all rising, significantly.

His main points are in the following thread, but notably the trend is being driven by OMICRON BA2 variant.

The Education minister also briefed on COVID infections within the school system and plans to deal with those and keep in-person classes in place, though some schools have reverted to online classes:

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“It’s the police. Ello, ello! What’s goin’ on here?”-February 12, 2022

It’s been quite a week in British politics, centered around policing at its highest ranksCommissioner of the Metropolitan Police resigned-and policing of the head of government-the PM is under criminal investigation for breaching COVID restrictions.

Cressida Dick lost the confidence of the Mayor of London and jumped before being pushed.

She’d been under much recent criticism:

The departure is awkwardly timed, as the Met digs into #Partygate, and if and when the PM participated in the many parties that have come to light while people were supposed to be under strict gathering guidelines.

PM Johnson has now been issued a questionnaire by the police:

Tighter COVID restrictions for Jamaica-August 10, 2021

Media briefing by the PM last night covered a wide range of COVID-related issues:

COVID trends have worsened, as I noted in my post yesterday:

Curfew hours are to be lengthened from August 11 through 31. Gathering restrictions will be tightened, including beaches, rivers, places of worship, and gyms.

No permits will be given for entertainment events.

Schools reopening will depend on what happens in next 3 weeks.

Signs of global inequality: vaccines aren’t there for all-June 28, 2021

Holness points to light at end of #COVID19Life tunnel by major easing of curfews-June 23, 2021

PM Holness announced yesterday some major relaxation of Jamaica’s COVID restrictions, notably easing curfew hours to 11pm to 5am for Mondays to Saturdays and 6pm to 5am on Sundays.

The measure will run from July 1 to August 11.

The Opposition were quick to point out that our situation is still highly vulnerable despite improving trends but with a woefully low level of vaccination.

In summary, the other changes from July 1 are:

Churches and Cinemas

* Places of worship – current limit of 50 to move to a capacity-based system. This is where churches can use a measurement of one person for every 40 square feet or 70% of their capacity to conduct services.

* Indoor theatres and Cinemas – These places of amusements are to be allowed to open. They can use the measurement of one person for every 40 square feet or 70% of seated capacity, whichever is lower.

* For drive-in – vehicles should carry no more than the number it is registered to carry.

Controlled Re-entry

* COVID-19 testing – Persons must continue to present a negative test three days before arriving in Jamaica.

* 14-day quarantine remains in place.

* Fully vaccinated persons – eight-day quarantine remains in place.

* Effective July 1, 2021, persons who are fully vaccinated and return a negative PCR test after arriving in Jamaica will be released from quarantine.

Travel restriction

* Travel ban on South American countries as well as the restriction on Trinidad and Tobago and India extended to August 10.

Stay-at-home

* Persons 60 and over must remain at home until August 10. Individuals who are fully vaccinated are exempted.

Funerals and burials

* Services will now be allowed with a maximum of 30 mourners.

* Burials will now be permitted with a maximum of 30 people up from 15.

* Burials may now take place from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Mondays to Fridays only.

Markets

* To operate from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday to Saturday. Closed on Sundays.

Beaches, Rivers, Zoos and Water attractions

* To operate from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday to Saturday.

* 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sundays.

Parks, Gyms and Bars

* Must close one hour before the start of the curfew.

Amusement arcades

* These entities are allowed to reopen effective July 1.

Events and entertainment

* Organisers of small outdoor events such as parties, concerts, round robins, festivals, corporate mixers will be allowed to apply for permits to host no more than 100 people (50 for public sector)

* For indoor events, no more than 60 per cent of the capacity of the venue.

* Organisers of large events like stage shows, church conventions, festivals, general and special meetings will need to satisfy an approval process through the Ministry of Culture and the Office of the Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management.

* Gov’t will waive rental fees for its venues for large events. Other charges will apply.

Another vaccination blitz and improving COVID trends-June 11, 2021

Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. Chris Tufton’s ‘COVID Conversation’ last night focused on improving COVID trends, especially much lower positivity rates, and another round of vaccination blitzes, that began last weekend and will continue for the next two weekends. Particular focus is on getting second doses given; so far, some 28,000 have had second doses.

Blitzed again…for 2nd vaccination doses-June 5, 2021

Activities at the National Arena were quieter than when we got our first doses, in early-April. Also, traffic was heavier as curfew rules had been loosened. We knew the process on arrival and we’re ushered into the main hall with 5 minutes. Forms were completed. A video was played giving vaccination advice. Then, we waited.

We arrived about 2:05 and first jab came at 2:33; my wife got the last of a batch. I waited and had my dose at 2:39. My wife was nabbed by CVMTV for a quick interview :).

By 2:55, we were on our way home and by 3:20, we were home. Now, time to take some painkillers to ward off some side effects and hope they’re minor for the next 48 hours.

Kudos to all the Ministry of Health and Wellness personnel and JDF staff who assisted in another smooth process.

Another Jamaican COVID-19 “blitz” to get second doses done-June 4, 2021

Just when the USA has allocated at least 80 million doses to the rest of the world, Jamaicans can anticipate another boost to COVID vaccination. The USA will share 75% of doses with COVAX, about 19 million can go to areas worst hit by supply constraints.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness did incredibly well with a so-called “blitz” of vaccinations back in April, when they managed to get 75,000 doses…

Another Jamaican COVID-19 “blitz” to get second doses done

The USA is reopening for business-June 3, 2021

As I browsed TV channels early this morning, a clear theme emerged: things are getting back to normal in the USA, after over a year struggling with the COVID pandemic.

Axios has a COVID map that is now all green, showing COVID cases as least flat in every state. The map has lost it’s purpose. It will go.

I looked in on ‘Morning Joe’, at 5am, and noticed that all the 6 main contributors were seated around a table, in pods of 2. What? I’d become used to seeing the two principals together, in studio—they’re married—but others on inset panels, as they contributed from home offices or elsewhere. Now, together ‘as used to be’.

The White House has announced staff are expected to return ‘to campus’.

Having been in the USA for a few days, it’s clearly different, with vaccines more readily available, and many taking their doses, without hesitation.

President Biden is aiming to get to the 70% vaccination threshold by July 4. He and his thrust have made a difference to attacking the pandemic and it seems to be working.

But, the rest of the world is still lagging, and needs US help to get vaccines.

Jamaicans get looser COVID restrictions-June 1, 2021

PM Holness announced a broad loosening of COVID-related restrictions, notably, easing curfews till July 1:

Fuller details are below:

Quarantine rules for those fully vaccinated are reduced to 8 days from 14, from June 3.

Beaches and rivers will reopen from June 3, with limited group sizes.

Discussions are underway to revive the entertainment industry, and possibly reopen in the summer:

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