Mon | Jan 18, 2021

Western stakeholders want tighter COVID enforcement

Published:Saturday | September 5, 2020 | 12:16 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer


With Jamaica’s COVID-19 cases now standing at 2,896 infections and 29 deaths following the recent spikes, some stakeholders in western Jamaica are urging the Government to be more stringent in enforcing the Ministry of Health’s preventive measures to control the spread of the deadly virus.

In an interview with The Gleaner yesterday, businessman Robin Russell, the president of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association’s (JHTA) Montego Bay chapter, is suggesting that the COVID protocols now being used by tourism entities should also apply to communities across the country.

Russell said that there has been no recorded spread of COVID-19 in the hotel sector.

Reverend Hartley Perrin, the custos of Westmoreland, believes that the police should be given the power to arrest and charge anyone who refuses to wear masks in public as was recently done in Half-Way Tree, St Andrew, where several persons without masks were detained under the Disaster Risk Management Act.

“In the public spaces across the island, the police should have the authority to insist that persons wear their masks, and the individuals should be reminded forcefully, and if they do nothing about it after that, then they should be arrested and charged. We have to go back to the point where you cannot enter any business establishment without your mask and without being temperature-checked and sanitised,” said Perrin.

Following the Jamaica Labour Party’s (JLP) victory in Thursday’s general election, Prime Minister Andrew Holness said that he would hold a meeting with Ministry of Health representatives regarding the virus’ management in the future, including the potential impact the election period has had on the disease’s infection numbers.

Errol Greene, the regional director of the Western Regional Health Authority, says that the organisation has done all it can to educate the population on the importance of following the COVID protocols.

“We have produced more literature than ever before, and we have done community sensitisation, so I just do not know what else we can do as we have done all that is humanly possible. We can only appeal to people to use their better judgment so they can protect themselves and each other,” said Greene.