PM defends Gov’t’s decision to end DRMA measures | Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News | Loop News

Amid concerns from health professionals over the removal of mask mandates for enclosed spaces, and COVID-19 testing for visitors to the island, Prime Minister Andrew Holness is defending the Government’s move to do so, arguing that Jamaicans must be responsible in their personal actions.

Speaking at the ground-breaking for RIU Aquarelle Hotel in Trelawny on Wednesday, Holness said the withdrawal of the COVID measures under the Disaster Risk Management Act (DRMA) was based on the recognition that ongoing management of the pandemic needs to be mainstreamed into normal daily habits and norms of the society through personal responsibility.

“It has become increasingly difficult to utilise the DRMA as a means of managing the pandemic,” he stated.

“It (DRMA) gave the Government executive powers to act in a disaster. I think we have been in a state of disaster for a long time and, therefore, it has become a new normal,” he added.

While recognising the concerns about the removal of the restrictions under the DRMA, despite new COVID variants emerging globally, such as the highly transmissible BA.2 variant that has now been detected in Jamaica, the prime minister contended that Jamaicans are rational people who are capable of following the virus prevention protocols.

“So what we have said is we’re giving advice, we are strongly recommending that you wear your mask, sanitise, you maintain social distance, and you exercise a degree of caution,” Holness stated.

He insisted that Jamaicans should maintain “a certain level of vigilance” until the data indicates that the pandemic has ended.

“… But that vigilance has to be exercised by the individual,” Holness cautioned.

“So, right now we are in what now is described as the endemic phase of the pandemic, and that means it is going to be with us… for (maybe) 10 years.

“We don’t know. It might just disappear, but what we know, it is all over and it is in our society. We need to act responsibly,” declared the prime minister.

Meantime, Holness said entities such as schools, hotels and other institutions, can implement and/or maintain their own COVID containment measures.

“The Government will from time to time give an indication as to what the high-level threats are, and from that, you can implement your own measures that you would require,” assured Holness.