Back to work - Holness says Gov’t encouraging smart return to full productivity

May 19, 2020
Holness
Holness

Jamaicans who have been working from home since the outbreak of COVID-19 have been told to get ready to return to their offices.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness said that aside from persons 65 years and older, and people with illnesses being required to work from home, persons who were previously deemed non-essential workers should go back to work effective June 1.

"From a public health standpoint, in terms of where we are in this pandemic, we are now at the point where we can say to our Jamaican workforce that you should return to work," Holness said.

He said that representatives of employers and the Government are now working on a set of rules that will govern operations within workplaces.

"This is a further signal that the Government is encouraging the smart return to full productive capacity. This is a further signal that Jamaica has to learn to live with COVID-19," Holness said.

Flattening the curve

On Monday, Jamaica recorded no new COVID-19 cases for the second time in the 70 days that the virus has been detected in the island. Health officials project the country's cases could double every 15 days, which means Jamaica is flattening the curve.

"I am certain that what we have done will ensure that we conquer the public health epidemic. We are now turning our attention and focus to ensuring that we conquer the economic recession that could come as a result of the public health epidemic," he said.

Meanwhile, more than 1,000 ship workers who have been stranded for months on the high seas due to the coronavirus pandemic would be allowed to go home if they do not test positive after coming off the vessel.

They must, however, be quarantined at home, providing they agree to be monitored electronically by the state for 14 days. Persons would start disembarking the ship in batches of 200 every 48 to 72 hours to allow for testing.

People who are found to have the disease would be taken for medical treatment while the others would be sent home.

In addition to the shipworkers, Holness said that some 9,000 Jamaicans have been seeking to return home. Arguing that the "risk of a spike is still significant", Holness said that the use of technology to monitor people who have returned home is important.

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