Jamaica has imposed a seven-day lockdown starting from the last Sunday, as the delta variant of coronavirus begins to wreak havoc on the Caribbean island.
As many as 550 people were hospitalized on Saturday, 21 August, with Prime Minister Andrew Holness acknowledging that the country’s health care system was struggling to cope with the surge in COVID cases.
“Our case numbers are unacceptably high and rising and the rate of hospitalizations is beyond the capacity of our health system to cope”, Holness told a virtual press conference.
The country of 3 million people has reported 60,000 cases and more than 1,300 deaths since the pandemic broke out in March last year.
With barely 5% of its population fully vaccinated, Jamaica found it inevitable to impose lockdown, as the delta variant is billed as the most contagious.
The COVID cases suddenly surged weeks after the country eased containment measures in a bid to speed up recovery in its tourism sector.
The new restrictions are not applicable to people traveling to get COVID vaccines or overseas.
The news comes barely a day after the United States donated 208,260 doses of Pfizer vaccine to the Caribbean country. “This tranche of donations is the first of multiple shipments that will arrive from the U.S. in the coming weeks and months,” stated the US embassy in Jamaica.