Jamaica Observer, April 22, 2020 – ONE of the country’s two major telecommunications providers, Digicel Jamaica, says almost one-third of its workforce has been affected by the lockdown of St Catherine.

However, the company said despite the impact, its operations will not be significantly affected.

“As a provider of essential services to the public, we have a duty of care to keep our business running, no matter what. At a time like this, the services we provide to customers could not be more vital or needed, and we take that responsibility very seriously. Likewise, we are taking the developments in St Catherine very seriously, and are doing everything we can,” Chief Executive Officer Allison Philbert told the Jamaica Observer on Monday.

The lockdown of the parish was announced by Prime Minister Andrew Holness last week Wednesday, after a cluster of 33 COVID-19 cases emerged at a call centre in Portmore — one of the main town centres in the parish — causing the country’s cases to jump from 73 to 105.

The Alorica call centre in Portmore was named as the site of Jamaica’s largest number of COVID-19 cases since the island saw its first case on March 10. The figure has since been climbing.

Alorica employees, up to Monday, have accounted for 122 of the island’s 223 cases of the infectious disease.

As a result of the lockdown and to ensure compliance, Digicel Jamaica said it has closed its nine retail stores in the parish, but reminded that there are several options for topping up on credit, including online and other retail channels.

“We have activated our business continuity plans, including a remote working policy as early as four weeks ago, in order to prepare us for eventualities such as this. Where necessary, our teams continue to work remotely to fulfil our top priority to keep our customers connected,” Philbert said.

The CEO said the company will continue to support the Government’s efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19, and, in its own plans, has imposed a ban on employee travel, as well as reinforced the importance of hygiene, sanitisation, and coping measures with staff. The company, according to Philbert, is also taking the necessary precautions in interaction with customers, cancelling large-scale events, and urging staff to seek medical attention if they feel ill.