Fri | Aug 14, 2020

We need to regain control in coronavirus fight

Published:Tuesday | July 7, 2020 | 12:14 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

It seems that the Government has lost direction in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic in Jamaica. Let us examine what is happening. We moved from testing everyone coming into the country to asking visitors to pretest, and now, the chief medical officer (CMO) is saying that Jamaicans returning will go home and make an appointment to be tested.

The people who have come with negative pretests, a significant proportion of them have subsequently tested positive in Jamaica. That speaks to the reliability of pretesting.

Do we expect, realistically, that Jamaicans who come home are going to make an appointment to be tested? Our discipline dictates that a significant number of them will not. Do not try to convince me either that the ministry is going to monitor them to see if they do. Dr Christopher Tufton has already stated that we have more than 6,000 people in quarantine, the overwhelming majority of whom are in self-quarantine. The bigger question is, how many of those 6,000 people have been tested?

More than 90 per cent of the imported positive cases reported since the reopening of the borders have been from the United States (US), yet we have, if anything, made the monitoring less, rather than more stringent. The US has to be put under a different protocol than other countries. The powers that be and the public, in general, have taken false consolation in the number of daily cases we have.

Social distancing and mask-wearing have become a fashion statement rather than a necessity in Jamaica. It is not too late for us to regain control of the situation, but it needs strength of character and unwavering commitment from the prime minister, the minister of health and the CMO. To delay may be deadly for many of us.

WILLIAM VERDIN

billiverdin@gmail.com