Despite the recent increase in the positivity rate of the coronavirus (COVID-19), Health and Wellness Minister, Dr Christopher Tufton, is urging caution against panic in the society.
He said persons must always be vigilant and concerned about the possible spread of the disease, and that the ministry remains committed to “deal with the threat”, but the danger is “nowhere (like) it used to be”.
In seeking to drive home his point, Tufton added that, “I don’t want us to panic. I would like to discourage those who pervade a sense of panic where it is not necessary at this point in time.
“COVID has always been among us, and we have seen the decline of the virus a year or so ago,” the minister said while delivering the keynote address at the handover of the upgraded Mandeville Comprehensive Health Centre in Manchester on Thursday.
While noting that Jamaica and the rest of the global community experienced two years of “serious challenges” with the virus, Tufton cited that 3,500 lives had been lost in Jamaica, and while some persons are still affected by the illness, most Jamaicans are coping and overcoming the “risk that is associated with COVID”.
He emphasized that, “Over time, the virus and the threat that it represents has to a large extent subsided, even though it still remains in the population. There are some people who are more vulnerable than others, and there are places that tend to be more susceptible for persons to pick up the COVID virus.”
The Health and Wellness Ministry is encouraging persons to observe the infection prevention and control protocols.
The authorities advised that persons who are vulnerable, such as the elderly and those with comorbidities, are still at risk, and should practise handwashing, hand sanitisation, the wearing of masks, and being consistent with sneezing and coughing etiquette, especially when in public spaces.
Further, all eligible persons should take the influenza and COVID-19 vaccines, especially the vulnerable populations, which include the elderly, the young, pregnant women, and healthcare workers.