Mon | Oct 18, 2021

Letter of the Day | Misplaced COVID-19 containment priorities

Published:Monday | September 13, 2021 | 12:07 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

As we continue with what appears to be an interminable and futile strategy of half-work weeks that threaten to undermine local businesses, the prime minister and his advisers seem hell-bent on a one-dimensional approach to the management of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The priority has been, to this point, to keep the numbers down and so, in a very simplistic model, locking people up in their houses should achieve this effect. The problem is that, aside from having catastrophic effects on people’s livelihoods, the measures are temporary and only become effective with a robust vaccination programme. Canada and Jamaica both started vaccinations at the same time and Canada is now at 70 per cent fully vaccinated, while we are at five per cent. Canada requires PCR testing for entry and COVID-19 passports for entry into indoor venues. In the meantime, Jamaica has become a mecca for the unvaccinated.

Instead of playing the numbers game at what could be an irreversible cost to the local economy, the government needs to embark on an intense public education programme for the hearts and minds of a vaccine-sceptical public. Throwing the country into semi-weekly pandemonium and threatening more to come unless “the public does what it’s supposed to” is a losing strategy. Like the patients lining the halls of local hospitals, businesses are running out of oxygen. The question now is, do we have the leadership to save us?

PAUL SHOUCAIR