The situation in Jamaica regarding COVID-19 is rather “up in the air.” While the number of new cases has been declining, testing is at an all-time low, and we are still having deaths on a daily basis (some from months ago that are just being recorded) and our positivity rate remains fairly high. We are also, according to the Prime Minister and our Health and Wellness Minister, EXPECTING a Fourth Wave (estimated to arrive at the end of December/early January, if not before). Meanwhile, we are having a gradual easing of curfew restrictions (currently from 9 pm to 5 am daily). From all accounts, curfews are largely being neither obeyed nor enforced in many cases. Meanwhile, the Government insists that schools will remain open. There will be no more lockdowns, shutdowns! Back to the “new normal”! With some 25 percent of the target population fully vaccinated, how much sense does this make? Well, it’s now “up to us” it seems. If you are not vaccinated, expect the worst. The vaccine is here, get vaxxed! Unfortunately, also, the weekly “COVID Conversations” – very useful updates and an opportunity for the media to pose questions of the Minister and his team – seem to have fallen by the wayside. I believe they are needed, perhaps more than ever. Many questions remain – including those asked by Susan Goffe in her latest blog on schoolchildren and COVID-19.
During his statement in Parliament on Tuesday (Nov 16, 2021), while announcing changes to the Covid-19 measures, PM Andrew Holness briefly mentioned cases of children with possible exposure to Covid-19 and how this was dealt with by schools.
Speaking about the country as a whole, he said:
“We are being very cautious in reopening and, just to be clear, we are not going to shut down again.”
He then went on to say:
“So, Madam Speaker, we have reopened our schools. We have seen cases reported of a possible exposure to Covid-19. We haven’t shut them when they have opened. We tell them to sanitise, clean up, isolate the child, keep them at home. But we are not going to close the schools again.”
These cases referred to by the Prime Minister – of possible Covid exposure in children in schools – haven’t been reported in the media nor to…
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