Jamaica started prohibiting residents from leaving their homes on Sunday in the first of three lockdown weekends to contain an upsurge in coronavirus infections and shield its healthcare system, Prime Minister Andrew Holness said.
The island has been battling a third wave of infections, with the presence of the highly contagious Delta variant confirmed.
"Our case numbers are unacceptably high and rising, and the rate of hospitalisation is beyond - and I want to stress this - beyond the capacity of our health system, to cope," Holness said on Thursday.
More than 550 people are hospitalised with COVID-19 on the island of three million people. To date, nearly 60,000 people have been infected with the coronavirus with more than 1,300 deaths.
Authorities are concerned after the rate spiked when restrictions were eased last month.
Sunday’s movement restriction lasted three days. There will be an identical three-day ban on movement this weekend, and a one-day lockdown on Sunday, Sept. 5.
Jamaicans will be required to remain at home unless they are essential workers, although there will be some flexibility for those who have international travel plans, or appointments for a vaccination.