Thu | Jul 2, 2020

Controlling imported COVID-19 cases

Published:Friday | June 26, 2020 | 12:09 AM


IT IS indeed a success, by any measure, that the Government has been able to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus and its mitigation efforts have borne fruit, maybe except for the business process outsourcing fiasco.

Our confirmed cases of COVID-19 in recent days have mostly involved persons entering the country from abroad rather than from community spread. A glaring omission is the lack of testing for the virus on each and every person arriving on the island. It is puzzling that the Government has not decided to undertake the following control measures:

• Identify and purchase a number of test kits for the virus for the ports of entry where results are available in hours rather than days.

• Demand that all tourists entering the island undergo a COVID-19 test and their intended residences on the island are recorded.

• Place a surcharge or virus-control tax that matches the cost of a test on each plane ticket similar to the airport tax charge for arriving passengers.

• Establish a cadre of health and security personnel that are available to track and isolate any person found with a positive test as soon as possible.

• Establish a protocol for such infected persons to be quarantined and cared for similar to how we handled our incoming citizens recently.

• Undertake contact tracing and test persons in contact with those infected persons to reduce any spread of the virus.

I am sure visitors will be willing to pay a nominal virus-testing fee to come here. Unless these measures are in place as we open the country, we will see a resurgence of the virus, and a spike in cases from asymptomatic tourists.

Let us not undo all the good work that has been done to contain the virus in Jamaica.