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KINGSTON, MARCH 18 (JCSA):
The Government of Jamaica announced the first confirmed case of the novel COVID-19 on Tuesday, March 10, 2020 on our shores.
The GOJ has since been utilizing several mitigation strategies, including closing schools for 14 days and allowing non-essential government work from home in an effort to control the spread of the virus. Despite this, we have moved from code green to code red and are now in the stage of preventing the rapid spread of the virus.
We must express our concern for members of the civil service who still have go out to work to interface on a daily basis with the general public in spite of the dangerous reality that we are now faced with.
With the closure of schools, students have been frequently visiting places such as the Jamaica Library Service offices across the island. This puts persons who work at JLS at a significant risk. We understand that the JLS cannot be closed due to the nature of service it offers; access to information, especially, given that students are now required to attend classes online in some cases and many do not have internet access at home. Hence, they go to the JLS to access the necessary resources.
Many JLS workers now fear for the health and safety of themselves and their families. We therefore ask that measures be taken to protect these persons. We recommend that in keeping with the government guidelines for COVID-19 prevention, restrictions be put on the number of persons allowed in the libraries. As outlined by the GOJ, public gatherings should be limited to 20 or less depending on the space available for the 3 feet stipulation. Further to this, we recommend that consideration be given for the workers to be allowed to work flexible hours.
Additionally, the workers must be given the necessary protective gears and cleaning agents to keep the work areas clean.
We must consider these workers. They risk their lives to bring essential services to the people of Jamaica, but we must not forget that they too have families to protect from this highly contagious virus.
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