Sun | Jan 16, 2022

Opposition warns of another COVID-19 spike

Published:Saturday | August 21, 2021 | 12:12 AMChristopher Serju/Senior Gleaner Writer

The scientific evidence suggests that the Delta variant of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was in Jamaica some two months ago, so the country should brace for an uptick in virus cases during the coming weeks, according to Opposition Spokesman on Health, Dr Morais Guy.

“The health sector is in dire straits,” he told a virtual press conference hosted by the People’s National Party (PNP) on Friday. “Our country, our people are and will continue to suffer because we are only seeing the early rise of the third phase,” the medical doctor warned.

“We are going to be seeing a lot more and as we have been told two days ago that Delta was discovered in samples that were taken from the first week of July, which means that if you follow the science and incubation of 14 days, Delta was here from in June,” he further disclosed.

Dr Guy said the hospitalisation of upwards of 900 persons and images of patients sitting under tents receiving oxygen were a clear indication of the serious state in which the health sector now finds itself. In addition, he urged caution in respect of the Pfizer vaccine that has been approved for use in children, with the Government set to embark on a massive vaccination blitz this weekend, targeting youngsters between the ages of 12 and 18 years old.

“We are asking the Ministry of Health to ensure that the cold chain is not broken because if you do that, then you run the risk at the end of the day of giving our children something that has not been properly stored,” he said.

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader and President of the PNP Mark Golding declared that his party’s objection to the recent containment measures announcement by the Government is the lack of any support system for the most vulnerable persons in the society who will be most impacted by the no-movement days.

“The prime minister must put in place a mechanism for assistance to flow to the families most impacted by the seven days of lockdown. Four of those no-movement days are Mondays and Tuesdays, which are normal working days. Many Jamaicans hustle day to day to find food. Something must be done for them. Hourly paid workers, construction workers, persons who do jobwork, vendors on the streets and in the market, they will lose their income on those days. They live hand to mouth, what is to happen to them?”

On Thursday, Prime Minister Andrew Holness announced all-day lockdowns for August 22, 23, 24, 29, 30 and 31, and September 5.

The no-movement days are aimed at reducing the spread of COVID-19 and its highly contagious Delta variant.