Wed | Sep 30, 2020

Blatant flouting of quarantine rules

Published:Friday | August 14, 2020 | 12:08 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

It really saddens me to see the extent to which the returning residents are reportedly flouting the quarantine rules in Jamaica. We ought not to ask about tourists because if we cannot contain ourselves, how do you expect the tourists to contain themselves? After all, it is not their country, but ours.

In February 2020, Prime Minister Andrew Holness activated immediate plans and closed our borders as part of the efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus in Jamaica. Many of us sympathised with our countrymen and women, including students and workers who were locked out either at sea or at institutions that had closed.

Many of us advocated and appealed to the prime minister. When in our estimation the State did not respond readily, we ranted and raved. This was replaced by jubilation as we all celebrated, clanging pot covers, when on March 18, 2020 Jamaica was ranked by the World Health Organization as one of the top countries in the world to have responded in quick order to arrest the spread of the virus. Within six months, and at the point of writing this letter, Jamaica recorded 14 deaths linked to COVID-19; 1,023 coronavirus cases and approximately 745 recoveries. As of August 6, visitors accounted for more than 225 cases since the reopening of the borders in June.

OBSERVING PROTOCOLS

When the borders were fully opened everyone seemed to have had no reservation to adhere to the health screening, and they further committed to observing the various protocols. Within a few months, while deaths remained the same, COVID-19 positive cases began to climb steadily, and at July 26, 2020 the figures stood at 765 confirmed cases with 10 deaths, representing 164 additional cases in a little over a month. Between February and May, there were 457 cases. Despite tremendous efforts at recoveries, Jamaica has more than doubled the number of confirmed cases. The country can do without the second wave, which is progressing at a much faster rate.

The sad truth is that our own people seem to be displaying slight regard for their homeland. They seem to be so accustomed to ‘beat’ the system with little, if any, recourse, so much so that it is easy to beat this permeable system at the airports and leave at home the phone with the tracker app, while they roam freely with no regard for the rest of us.

How do all of them expect others to think that our lives matter when our own people have no regard for the lives of our own brothers and sisters? Frankly, if these people were unable to travel for so long and still survived, what would a mere two weeks quarantine in their own home do to them? I am sorry, but they don’t have any right to talk about whose life matters when they are making a mockery of people’s lives.

Frankly, they are all no better than all the others who cut people’s lives short.

OLIVENE BURKE