Thursday 2 July, 2020

COVID-19: All BPOs to be closed; schools remain shut until May 31

The Alorica call centre site in Portmore, St Catherine which has found itself at the centre of the COVID-19 outbreak in Jamaica.

The Alorica call centre site in Portmore, St Catherine which has found itself at the centre of the COVID-19 outbreak in Jamaica.

All Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) operations on the island will be closed for 14 days as of midnight Wednesday, as part of measures aimed at containing the spread of COVID-19 in Jamaica.

The announcement was made by Prime Minister Andrew Holness during a digital press conference at Jamaica House on Monday.

“I want the country to understand that this was not an easy decision,” Holness said. He pointed out that call centres are meant to be 24-hour operations that support critical industries.

However, one such operation, Alorica, which is located in Portmore, St Catherine has found itself at the centre of the outbreak on the island. As of Monday, Jamaica had 223 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 120 of the cases linked to Alorica.

Previously, all call centres operating in St Catherine had been shuttered.

Meanwhile, Holness also announced that educational institutions will remain closed until May 31, 2020 while teaching will continue online during the period.

Additionally, the country’s borders will also remain closed until May 31, subject to the controlled re-entry of Jamaicans during the period of closure.

Holness said his sympathies are with all Jamaicans stranded overseas. He acknowledged that some of them are in difficult circumstances.

-Lynford Simpson

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