The Government’s imposition of tougher curfew restrictions in the wake of record one-day coronavirus infections has been cast by business interests as a crippling blow to an already tanking economy that would make recovery much harder.
That reaction comes amid an unprecedented surge in infections over the last seven days, climaxing with 403 cases on February 8.
Jamaica has recorded 17,701 infections and 359 deaths.
Effective today, the islandwide curfew will commence at 8 p.m. and end at 5 a.m. daily. The lock-off previously started at 10 p.m.
The measure will be in effect until February 24, Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced in Parliament on Tuesday afternoon.
The new restrictions come just when some businesses were seeing promising shoots after being hit hard from months of crushing lockdowns.
“The curfew has proven to be the most effective measure, but it the most expensive measure because of the impact it has on the economy and on business,” Holness said, appearing to expect pushback from business leaders.