Sun | Jul 25, 2021

Phased reopening is critical at this time

Published:Tuesday | June 15, 2021 | 12:06 AM


It is indeed glaringly evident that Prime Minister Holness is under pressure by several stakeholders to reopen and/or relax restrictions surrounding certain sectors as the fight against the coronavirus pandemic is ongoing.

Jamaica is currently recording an average of 50 new COVID-19 cases daily. The seven-day average was highest in March 2021 with 604 infections. The infection rate is in fact decreasing, but we must be mindful that if too many restrictions are relaxed at once, it could very well lead to the soaring of infection rates.

Moreover, Jamaica has administered vaccines to only three per cent of the population. The need to procure more vaccines must be the priority now if there is, indeed, a push to reopen. At the current rate, it will take more than a year to vaccinate even 10 per cent of the country’s population.

The Government must not falter and be swayed by stakeholders in opening up the various sectors, which leads to detrimental circumstances that the nation is certainly not equipped nor capable of counteracting. While one can understand the frustrations, we cannot under any circumstances allow the progress made in controlling COVID-19 thus far to be voided because of erratic decisions.

Any initiative undertaken at this time must be enforced in a phased and regulated manner, ensuring that all foreseeable and unforeseen loopholes are addressed before execution. Foresight and caution must be continued to be exercised aggressively throughout this phase.

Since the spread of the pandemic in Jamaica in early March of 2020, the prime minister and his team have been highly proactive in providing an effective response to the deadly virus. Prime Minister Holness, may I suggest that you continue to enact decisions in sync with the greater interest of the society for the long haul. Although perhaps perceived as unpopular by certain pockets of the masses currently, these steps will surely liberate us from the shackles of COVID-19 in the foreseeable future.