MAJ warns Jamaica ‘cannot cope with large surge in COVID-19 cases’

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    The Medical Association of Jamaica (MAJ) is urging Jamaicans at home, returning residents and all visitors to the country to follow the COVID-19 protocols outlined by the Government, stating that the country’s healthcare system “cannot cope with a large surge in cases”.

    The plea follows the sudden spike in cases of the virus over the past few days.

    The association noted further that the upsurge in cases comes weeks after the opening of our borders as part of the ‘Controlled Re-entry Programme’.

    “We have received many anecdotal reports of recent visitors to our shores breaching home quarantine. Persons who breach the quarantine put their friends, families, and members of the general population at risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus. This behaviour will ultimately lead to the wider spread of disease within the community with more persons becoming critically ill and more persons dying,” the association said in a release today.

    MAJ said coupled with this is “an observed sense of complacency setting in, in the general population with respect to COVID-19”.

    It said people are not practicing physical distancing and not wearing masks when moving around and waiting in public spaces. Persons who do wear the masks are not wearing them correctly.

    The MAJ urged people to heed the following to help stop the spread of the virus:

    • Observe the rules stipulated under the controlled re-entry programme. If individuals continue to breach said rules, authorities should consider stronger measures;
    • When leaving their homes, individuals should wear an appropriate sized face mask, covering both their mouth and their nose;
    • Individuals should practice physical distancing, to wash hands frequently and to avoid touching one’s face;
    • Organizations and business places should strictly enforce mask protocols, to facilitate hand sanitization with approved and labelled hand sanitizer.

    “COVID-19 is here, whether we believe it or not. We urge Jamaicans to have the courage and the patience to carry out the instructions of the authorities. Our healthcare system cannot cope with a large surge in cases,” the association said.

    “We have done well so far and must continue to be guided by sound public health principles. This crisis will pass. At some point we hope a vaccine, or an effective treatment will be found. Until such time we must all continue to brace, together, against this storm,” it added.

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