Photo: Jamaica Information Service. Victory is mine: Holness and JLP win in historica landslide.

by Terrain Wright

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Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness says there will be no more lock downs even as cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continue to increase.

Speaking at a news conference on January 9, the Prime Minister said the government will not return to lock downs as a containment strategy for COVID-19. This ends speculation that the continued increase in cases of COVID-19 would see him overturn a position he took in November last year.

“I know there is great tension in the air, and what it says to me is that people are not listening to what I have said. I have been very clear in Parliament, very clear, absolutely gone overboard to say that we are not going back to lock downs, so be calm,” Holness said.

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The Prime Minister encouraged Jamaicans to take full responsibility for their protection against COVID-19 by getting vaccinated.

Take the vaccine

“It is now in your hands. Go and take the vaccine. That is the strategy. We can’t hold you down and put the needle in your hand. If you get sick, you take that responsibility,” said Holness.

“I have said what the [containment] strategy is. It is now in your hands. Go and take the vaccine. That is the strategy,” he added.

On November 16, 2021, the prime minister stated that the government did not intend to place the country on lock downs anymore despite anticipating and preparing for a fourth wave of infection after the Christmas season.

He also noted that cases of exposure to the novel coronavirus were reported since the resumption of face-to-face classes for about half of the island’s primary schools.

“The Government continues to act in the best interest to preserve lives and to preserve livelihoods as best as possible. We are being very cautious in reopening, and just to be clear, we are not going to shut down again,” he said at the time.

Now in its fourth wave of infections Jamaica recently set a new record high of new cases since the start of the pandemic, having reported 1,593 new COVID-19 cases on Friday January 7.

On Sunday January 9, the country reported 953 new cases pushing the overall total since the outbreak in March 2020 to 103,458.