Tuesday 2 June, 2020

PHOTOS: A drive through St Catherine during lockdown

A police officer checks a truck driver's documents at a checkpoint in St Catherine, which is under lockdown. (Photo: Shawn Barnes)

A police officer checks a truck driver's documents at a checkpoint in St Catherine, which is under lockdown. (Photo: Shawn Barnes)

Sections of Mandela Highway in St Catherine had traffic at 9.30 Friday morning as motorists headed into town; so too the Municipal Boulevard as Portmore residents, presumably who are part of the essential service, made their way into Kingston.

The entire parish is under lockdown except for persons who work in the essential services, as the health authorities scramble to contain a COVID-19 outbreak linked to the Alorica call centre in Portmore. Of 163 confirmed cases of the respiratory virus on the island, 62 are linked to Alorica.

The Municipal Boulevard traffic was caused by a security checkpoint where motorists entering and exiting Portmore were subjected to a temperature check by the police.

A policeman checks the temperature of the passenger of this vehicle at the entrance to the Angel's toll plaza in St Catherine on Friday while a Jamaica Defence Force soldier looks on. (Photo: Lynford Simpson)

Elsewhere in the parish, the police were turning back motorists at the entrance to the toll road at the Angels Toll Plaza. A policeman on duty told Loop News that by 8.30am he had turned back at least 12 motorists who could not provide proof that they were part of the essential services. Our news team witnessed the driver of a Honda CRV being turned around in the direction of Bog Walk.

At the intersection of Sligoville and Bog Walk main roads, the security forces were firm in telling a woman that she was not part of the essential service and would have to turn around.

The Bog Walk Gorge was eerily quiet as the usual volume of delivery trucks, taxis, mini buses and general traffic was missing.

St Catherine Lockdown Drive Through

Along Brunswick Avenue near Spanish Town, the Cumberland health centre was closed when we drove by around 8.40am with workers and members of the public standing outside wearing masks. When the news team enquired about what was happening, we were told that the person who has the key for the gate lives in Point Hill in the parish and had difficulty getting transportation to work.

He showed up at 8.45, shortly after a doctor on duty had begun to record patients’ information in an adjoining overgrown premises, using what appeared to be an abandoned refrigerator for a desk. It was generally smooth sailing driving around sections of the parish despite a few bottlenecks as residents heed the order to stay at home to reduce the risk of contracting or spreading the coronavirus.

The security forces are generally reporting that motorists are being compliant.

--Lynford Simpson

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