Caribbean News

Jamaica will not participate in Philly-based Penn Relays says Health Minister

#KINGSTON, March 12 (JIS):  Jamaican schools will not be participating in this year’s staging of the Penn Relays track and field competition in the United States (US).

             Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon Christopher Tufton, made the announcement during a press conference at his New Kingston offices on Tuesday (March 10) where he reported Jamaica’s first imported case of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

 “Cabinet took a decision last evening for the Ministry of Education [Youth and Information] to advise as it relates to Penn Relays, and schools, by now, should have been advised that the Government is taking a position to not participate in the Penn Relays this year. The travel and the location could involve levels of risk that we would like to discourage,” he said.


The Penn Relays are scheduled for April 23 to 25 in Philadelphia in the United States.

Dr. Tufton noted that as it relates to the Boys and Girls’ Championships, a meeting is scheduled among the organisers, sponsors, and the Ministers with responsibility for education, sports and health “where a decision will be taken and that decision should be taken within 24 hours”.

The Boys and Girls’ Championships are scheduled for March 24 to 28 at the National Stadium in St Andrew.

Meanwhile, Dr. Tufton is discouraging against public gatherings and non-essential travel in light of the country recording its first case of COVID-19.

He said certain decisions will be communicated regarding public gatherings and events that are on the national calendar.

Additionally, Dr. Tufton said that the country continues to track irregular border crossings, and sensitisation of key personnel at all air and sea ports will continue.

“We have designated four quarantine facilities and others will be identified, and those are being used or being prepared to be used. We are finalising the retrofitting of isolation facilities in each of the island’s public hospitals,” he noted further.

            Dr. Tufton further urged the public to adhere to infection prevention and control measures, noting that “this is more important now than ever”.

These include maintaining a distance of at least one metre from persons who are coughing or sneezing; frequent and thorough washing of hands using soap and water or using a hand sanitiser; covering the mouth and nose with tissue when coughing or sneezing and then discarding it; and resisting the urge to touch the face.

            For additional information, the public is encouraged to contact 888-ONE-LOVE (663-5683).


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