STEWART Town resident Uril Osborne had no plans to be in Enfield in St Mary South Eastern until his mother asked him to dig his stepfather’s grave.
Now, the 56-year-old mason is “stuck”.
A Ministry of Health and Wellness quarantine order for a section of the community and three other areas — Annotto Bay, Iter Boreale and Dover — has forced him to shelter in place.
The restriction in movement began at 6:00 am last Thursday and is expected to limit community transmission of the new coronavirus, as health ministry investigations show that there is considerable movement of infected people, which has increased the risk of exposure to all in the communities.
Up to yesterday morning there were 18 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in St Mary.
“Mi come up yah fi come dig one grave and block it, and when yuh look mi get stuck and cyaan move. Mi come Wednesday and inna the night mi hear seh the place lock down. Soldier move in and tek over the place. Thursday mi wake up and cyaan move,” Osborne told the Jamaica Observer on Saturday.
Though fortunate to have family living in the area, the mason stated that his resources are running low.
Already, the money he travelled with, he claimed, has been used up, forcing him to rely heavily on care packages being distributed by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security in the communities under lockdown.
“Bwoy, wi run out a food yah now; it hard. All the gas fi cook all the food, if wi get any, done,” said Osborne, who had just finished picking grapefruits.
“This make mi well uncomfortable. Mi have my wife and two children back in Stewart Town who depending on mi, and mi here and want to move and can’t move. The soldier dem a tell mi seh if mi can’t show them ID (identification) mi cannot leave, and mi never walk wid it.”
The lockdown measures for sections of St Mary, are among a slew of other steps being taken by the Government to curtail the spread of the infectious disease, which was first confirmed on the island on March 10.
“Mi naah seh the prime minister a do a wrong thing, but you can’t do it suh. Mi get caught up inna something weh mi nuh fi be a part of, and it a mash mi up,” said Osborne. “A three months now wi have the body and him fi bury and mi decide seh, yes, mi a come do the grave and mi get caught up inna this.
“Mi have work fi do and people who mi inna business with, and mi cannot get fi leave. Up to this (Saturday) morning one a the boss call mi and mi nuh know how all of this going to go, but it a put mi out a business. Mi inna problem man, pure problem.”
Last Thursday, the Ministry of Health and Wellness said that exposed individuals in these communities may develop infection and cause spread to other members in the communities, resulting in a rapid increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases.
This, it said, is due to the high movement of people within the affected households in the communities, the high population density of two of the communities identified, and the high vulnerability of individuals within the communities to severe illness due to age, comorbidities and other socio-economic factors.
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