Fri | Sep 24, 2021

Time to rethink strategies to tackle COVID-19

Published:Monday | August 2, 2021 | 12:08 AM


Over a year ago, COVID-19 took the world by surprise; even the most developed countries were thrown into a state of panic. Jamaica was not spared but the government’s initial response was appropriate and timely.

We are now looking for a third wave. Yet, nothing has really changed as it relates to the strategies. The prime minister has perpetuated his use of the Disaster Risk Management Act, mainly centred around curfews and crowd restraints. Restricting the peoples’ rights of movement for over a year in a democratic country is simply not right!

The curfews have impacted business, sports and entertainment in ways that we are yet to imagine. The view that it is also a crime-suppression strategy is most absurd! Taking away people’s freedom and livelihood cannot engender peace, in fact it’s the gateway to further insanity and poverty.

The education of our children have been brought into disrepute. There have been very little face-to-face classes in over a year. We hear online classes are going on but how many children are attending? We are now on the cusp of another school year and still no real strategy in place. Online classes are the only answer. With the widespread inefficiency of online learning, the government is ostensibly compromising the future of an entire generation of youths.

Vaccination blitz

There have been a couple of “vaccination blitz” across the island. Frontline workers and other essential workers are priority including the elderly. What is the timeline for a comprehensive vaccination programme for all citizens? Should we expect the adhoc “blitz” to continue here and there? The government must at least have a clear plan for inoculation, which though vital is a low hanging fruit. This is how other countries are beating the pandemic across the globe.

Our government is in need of a new and progressive strategy to combat this pandemic. Restricting the peoples’ rights among all the other risk management measures at present will only serve to cauterise the problem. We need to tackle this thing head on with far-reaching plans that will provide solutions to all arising concerns.

We are in need of a COVID-19 recovery task force, for example, backed up by a special enforcement team (much like the municipal police and district constables) that will enforce alternative measures across communities. The recovery must be centred around reinstating the rights and freedom of the people, while sustainably controlling the spread of the virus. In doing so, preserve the identity and sanctity of a free and democratic society.

The constant back and forth with curfews and locking up of those who show dissent to the Government’s “placebo” is obviously untenable. The prime minister must rethink his strategy now!