The government has ordered the closure of all public schools starting tomorrow, Friday March 13, in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus, COVID-19.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness made the announcement at a special media briefing this afternoon.

Jamaica has so far confirmed two imported cases of the latest strain of the coronavirus and is awaiting results of tests conducted on five other persons.

Last evening, at an emergency media briefing at Jamaica House, Prime Minister Holness put the nation on stand-by in relation to the closure of schools across the country.

Less than 24 hours later, the Prime Minister came to the nation again and announced that all schools will be closed as Jamaica ramps up its response mechanism to militate against the spread of COVID-19.

The mandate also applies to all teaching colleges but doesn’t extend to tertiary institutions which operate on their own protocols.

This follows yesterday’s second confirmed imported case of the COVID19 virus

Prime Minister Holness says the decision was made out of an abundance of caution and not as a result of any confirmed case of local transmission.

Meanwhile, State Minister of Education, Alando Terrelonge, says provisions are being made for students to be taught remotely alongside provisions for the remaining components of the Primary Exit Profile, PEP, examination.