Family of four flees St Catherine; under quarantine in St James

MOUNT SALEM, St James — Four members of a St Catherine family, who fled their parish, are now in State quarantine after they were held during a joint operation by the St James Health Department and St James police at a house here on Wednesday night.

A 62-year-old woman who was also held with the family, which comprises two adults, an eight-year-old, and a teenager, was also quarantined.

“We would have received information from the JCF (Jamaica Constabulary Force) about possible locations of persons who would have broken the curfew order in St Catherine, and are in the vicinity of the city of Montego Bay and its environs. We made a joint approach and confirmed the information to be true,” Lennox Wallace, who heads the St James Public Health Department, told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

“We visited one premises where a couple and two children were found,” he said.

A health official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, indicated that the five individuals would have been tested for COVID-19 yesterday.

Calls to the health worker to determine the results of the tests went unanswered up to press time yesterday.

On Tuesday, the Government announced a week-long lockdown of St Catherine, arguing that the measure was triggered by a spike in the number of positive COVID-19 cases, which saw the tally jumping from 73 to 105.

The Alorica call centre in Portmore, St Catherine, was named as the site of Jamaica’s largest number of COVID-19 cases since the island saw its first case in early March.

The country has now recorded 143 COVID-19 cases, 52 of which are workers at the call centre.

Following the announced lockdown of St Catherine, there have been reports of a mass exodus of individuals from that parish.

Yesterday, Wallace disclosed that, acting upon information received by the police, a number of health workers were dispatched to several areas in St James — including Mount Salem, Rosemount and Johns Hall — in search of people from St Catherine.

“We have other information of persons in the Johns Hall area, Mount Salem and Rosemont, so we have dispatched the public health team to carry out the investigations,” Wallace said.

“We just want to tell the people of St James that we remain relatively safe and we will carry out the relevant investigations that come to our attention and ensure that public order and public safety is maintained,” he added.

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