Tue | Oct 27, 2020

COVID-19 stigma angers Goshen residents

Published:Wednesday | March 18, 2020 | 12:19 AMDanae Hyman/Staff Reporter

Residents of Goshen, Clarendon, hometown of Patient One’s father who was confirmed by the Ministry of Health to having contracted the novel coronavirus, said they are frustrated with the constant discrimination they have been facing since the emergence of infections in Jamaica.

According to one resident, her business has taken a huge hit from patrons not wanting to purchase from her, as well as the backlash she, along with other residents, faces when they visit neighbouring communities.

“Me take my necessary precautions and wash my hands. Me have my wash-hand facilities. As me take nuh money, me wash my hands. Me nah lef myself open to this thing,” the community member, who asked to remain anonymous, said.

“My and two of my friends went up in Mocho at an event that was keeping. One person who we all know from longer time said a Goshen unnu come from, you know, coronavirus up deh, and we nuh want unnu come near we. The way how me feel, the three of us, as ladies, just walk way and go sit by ourselves.”

Further, she disclosed that it is also a hassle for residents of Goshen to get taxis to the area because most taxi drivers refuse to carry them due to fear of contracting the virus.

Taxi men who reside in Goshen have also taken a hit, another resident said, stating that members of neighbouring communities have refused patronage.

MASS SANITISATION

In the meantime, Goshen residents questioned why health authorities have not engaged in a mass sanitisation drive in the district, located in Mocho, which they believe will help counter stigma.

“Me get fi understand say when them take him out, them spray him place, and that’s it,” the resident said. “If them say him have it, why not come spray every weh where him did deh and him was all over the place?”

She continued: “Me a expect say them woulda come and come wipe dung the area or even test more people if them say him have it and dem nuh want it spread. Me out ya every day and all now I don’t see nobody come.”

Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton, however, said on Monday in an emergency press conference that Goshen had not been quarantined – as has occurred in Seven Miles and Eight Miles, Bull Bay – because investigations by the ministry indicated minimum contact.

According to Tufton, Patient One’s father was interrogated about his whereabouts and persons with whom he interacted placed into quarantine by health authorities.

Up to yesterday, Jamaica recorded 13 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

danae.hyman@gleanerjm.com