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Jamaica imposes travel restrictions; Nat’l Statement on COVID-19 by Jamaica Health & Wellness Minister

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#Jamaica – March 3, 2020 — FULL STATEMENT from MARCH 2, 2020: The new Coronavirus (COVID-19) has spread to more than 60 countries, fueling widespread anxiety, as many consider the implications for public health.   

Here in Jamaica we understand that anxiety and wish to reassure the public that we are, even now, enhancing our readiness for the very real possibility of the virus coming to our shores.

Up to March 1, there were more than 87,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 reported globally and close to 3,000 deaths. Among those countries impacted are three from within the Caribbean, namely the Dominican Republic, St. Barts and St. Maarten.

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So far, Jamaica has had no cases. However, we can accept, given the rate of spread, which has seen more than 30 new countries impacted in the last week alone, that Jamaica is not immune to COVID-19.

We can also accept that it is not beyond our capacity to respond and to do so effectively, in the public health interest. Such has been our history in the face of other global disease outbreaks, including H1N1, SARS and Ebola.

Against this background, Jamaica’s assault on COVID-19, for which robust and ongoing public support is critical, is happening on two fronts:

  1. Actions to minimize the risk of exposure among the local population; and
  2.  Actions to enhance the capacity of the public health system to manage patients in the event that we have cases.

On MINIMISING EXPOSURE, we have, through collaboration with a wide cross-section of stakeholders from the public and private sectors,and through the adoption of a whole-of-government approach:

  • Imposed travel restrictions to include five countries, among them China, Italy, South Korea, Singapore, and Iran.
  • Discouraged non-essential travel.
  • Are patrolling irregular border crossings.
  • Sensitized key personnel at all air and sea ports.
  • Designated FOUR (4) quarantine facilities.
  • And identified and are retrofitting isolation facilities in each of the island’s public hospitals.

On our HEALTH SYSTEM’S READINESS, we have:

  • Developed the local capacity to test for the virus, thanks to training provided by the Pan-American Health Organization.
  • Assessed the readiness of our health facilities to meet the anticipated increase in demand on services.
  • Are addressing existing gaps, including with respect of additional supplies and equipment, though, at the present time, we have enough personal protective equipment in the island for our health facilities. We also have adequate stores of respiratory medicine for the next three months.
  • In addition, we have trained and continue to train health care providers.

These efforts are supported by a communications campaign to keep each member of the population updated on the virus and its impacts. Oversight is provided by the multi-sectoral National Disaster Risk Management Council – led by Prime Minister Andrew Holness – to which the Ministry of Health and Wellness will present a detailed response plan for approval.

Minister of Health, Dr Christopher Tufton inspects NMIA – file photo by JIS

Still, the success of our efforts depends on the extent to which stakeholders from the private and public sectors and indeed every individual who calls Jamaica home understand that they each have a role to play to preserve public health. This week we will also appoint a COVID-19 coordinating taskforce.

We must, therefore, work together to maintain a high level of vigilance in our surveillance and response measures. It is also now more important than ever that each of us:

  • Maintain a distance of at least 2 metres from persons who are coughing or sneezing.
  • Frequently perform hand hygiene by washing hands thoroughly with soap and water or using a hand sanitizer if hands are not visibly soiled.
  • Cover our mouths and noses with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, and then discarding it.
  • And resist the habit to touch our faces.
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Yes, COVID-19 is a disease that can cause death, but in the majority of cases, those affected by the virus survive. If we work together as a community, each of us doing our part, from prevention to care management, we can and will overcome this public health threat.

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Bahamas News

Polio is back; 65 million missed shots in another COVID fall out

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

 

#USA, August 4, 2022 – For the first time in almost a decade a new case of polio was recorded in the United States. The case which ended in paralysis emphasizes the danger the region faces as vaccination levels drop to 30-year lows.

The World Health Organization warned in early July explained that vaccination in the region of the Americas and the rest of world was dropping rapidly because of various spin off effects precipitated by the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Over 65 million infants missed out on basic vaccines in the last three years thanks to disruptions in routine healthcare, lockdowns and other circumstances. The effects are already being felt as once eradicated disease like measles and polio are once again emerging.

The Pan American Health Organization announced earlier this year the Americas are now facing another measles outbreak after having been declared free of the disease in 2016.

Dr. Jarvis Barbosa, Assistant director of PAHO said vaccination levels are now as low as they were in 1994 for measles and polio and Brazil has had several outbreaks of measles.

In the case of the United States an unvaccinated young adult developed the disease after contact with another individual vaccinated with a live version of the vaccine.

The breakout polio case in the US sent shockwaves across the country because of the severe nature of the disease. Polio is an extremely dangerous disease with no known cure. It causes paralysis in as many as 1 in 200 infected and that paralysis is permanent.

Normally very few school age children would be at risk in the Americas as the vaccine is required to start school but with the gap in vaccinations many more children are now at risk.

Polio was one of the most feared diseases of the 20th century, paralyzing and killing hundreds of thousands, especially children. Thankfully vaccinated individuals are not at risk and as such the WHO is advising that the best way to protect against polio is vaccination.

 

Photo Caption:  Child in Benin takes Polio vaccine, UNSDG

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Caribbean News

Dunn’s River Offers Special Summer Package

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#Jamaica, August 5, 2022 – Persons looking for an adventurous activity to do this summer are being encouraged to take advantage of the ‘Summa Thrills’ promotion, being offered by the world-famous Dunn’s River Falls and Park.

The promotion, which ends September 15, includes paying one cost to climb the Falls, ‘Tek-A-Hike’ and Zip over the Falls via the Chukka Falls Flyer. In addition, persons will also have access to the beach, splash pad, and other amenities.

The cost for residents is $5,000 per person and US$75 per person for non-residents. A photo identification is required to access the resident rate.

“We have partnered with CHUKKA to create this five-star experience,” Marketing Manager, Urban Development Corporation (UDC), Kereen Cole-Ivey, told JIS News.

She further informed that ‘Tek-A-Hike’ is the newest product offering at Dunn’s River Falls and Park and that the promotion provides an opportunity to build awareness and renew interest in the falls and park.

‘Tek-a-Hike’ is a guided, one-hour-and-a-half hike that starts at the Tranquility Gardens and ends in the Dunn’s River Falls & Park Nursery. Here guests can purchase plants or adopt a tree as part of the park’s Reforestation and Conservation Programme.

The hike is approximately two miles and is an experience that the entire family can enjoy. Along the trail, guests will learn about the flora and fauna on the entire property, which is called the Belmont property, as well as the general history of Dunn’s River Falls and Park. They will also get a chance to visit the Belmont Great House ruins.

“Coming out of COVID-19, we thought that this (Summa Thrills) would have been a very great adventure for the family and for everyone to enjoy and have a good time,” said Mrs. Cole-Ivey, adding that the UDC has other plans in place for Dunn’s River.

Dunn’s River Falls and Park is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. Persons are being encouraged to book ahead via the Dunn’s River website at www.dunnsriverfallsja.com, otherwise tickets can be purchased on location.

You may also visit @dunnsriver.jamaica and @udcjamaica on Instagram or call 876 618-6052 for additional information.

The Dunn’s River Falls and Park is managed and operated by St. Ann Development Corporation (SADCO), a subsidiary of the UDC.

 

Contact: Shanna K. Salmon

Release: JIS

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Caribbean News

Carnival Cruise ordered to pay $10.2 million for passenger claiming rape by staff

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By Sherrica Thompson

Staff Writer

 

#USA, August 5, 2022 – A Miami-based Federal Court returned a more than $10.2 million verdict against Carnival Cruise Line in favour of a passenger who claims a former crew member raped her in a storage closet aboard the Carnival Miracle in 2018.

A jury issued the verdict recently in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida finding Carnival liable for damages to the plaintiff, for false imprisonment and sexual assault by a crew member, in December 2018.

The jury separately found that Carnival was not negligent and that the former crew member did not intentionally inflict emotional distress on Plaintiff.

According to a statement issued last week Tuesday, Carnival Cruise Line said the incident between the plaintiff and the former crew member was consensual and plans to appeal the court’s decision.

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