We will beat COVID-19 – Bartlett
The highly anticipated COVID-19 vaccine is not the complete answer to the pandemic but will help Jamaica build immunity to beat the virus, Edmund Bartlett, minister of tourism, has said.
Speaking on Wednesday at the launch of the Jamaica Hotel & Tourist Association (JHTA) Kingston Chapter COVID-19 Ambassadors Programme, the minister said that “while we welcome news about a vaccine, it is not the answer in full, but it can help build immunity, manage our health issues, prevent and reduce deaths”.
The minister told guests at the R Hotel in Kingston that “the only way we can secure Jamaica is to observe the protocols”.
Bartlett congratulated the JHTA on its collaboration with his ministry and the Ministry of Health and Wellness towards combatting COVID-19.
He noted that their COVID-19 Ambassadors Programme, in which JHTA member hotels are working in communities to share their knowledge about health and safety protocols, is a prime example of the type of “responsible partnerships” required from everyone in Jamaica to manage the pandemic.
Camille Needham, executive director of the JHTA noted that the JHTA COVID-19 Ambassadors Programme launched last month in Ocho Rios will see JHTA Chapters across the island working with the communities around them.
She noted that “keeping our employees, and by extension, their families safe and healthy has been at the centre of all of our strategies in the hospitality and tourism sector and we are convinced that by collaborating and working together, we can thrive and survive COVID-19”.
JHTA Kingston Chapter Chair Chris Jarrett said, “We can all be proud of the response of the tourism sector in the implementation of protocols and sanitistion regimes that have served to protect our staff, our guests, and by extension, our communities.”
He said that tourism entities moved early to protect staff by arming them with protective equipment and the knowledge about safety and sanitisation.
“This is the same knowledge that we are seeking to impart to our communities in the JHTA COVID-19 Ambassadors Programme. This is a partnership with the ministry of Health and Wellness in which the JHTA members are lending the expertise of our trained employees in helping to educate and sensitise communities and to impress on everyone the importance of observing the various COVID-19 protocols. Our aim is to keep everyone safe and retard the progress of the pandemic.”
Commending the JHTA Kingston Chapter on the start of its COVID-19 Ambassadors Programme, the conceptualiser of the initiative, Brian Roper, general manager, Sandals Grande Ocho Rios, noted that since the launch, the Ocho Rios Chapter had already engaged over five communities in the area.
The JHTA Montego Bay Chapter will be launching its programme next.