The realisation is hitting home starkly that Jamaicans are not hearing and/or heeding the many messages about COVID-19 prevention, so we have seen a recent wave of attempts to do more communicating, especially as it relates to wearing masks. Minister Tufton has been on a blitz this week. His tone during last evening’s ‘COVID Conversations’ was all about not descending into despair about where numbers are heading and not to accept comments that suggest the government has stopped caring about the development of COVID.
He spent a lot of time stressing the anticipation and planning had mitigated many of the worse outcomes earlier projections suggested:
However, it’s clear that the messages that people need to act on are just not sinking in to a wide enough degree, and this is reflected in visits he’s made to communities and businesses.
Some public agencies and companies have joined the push, eg the public bus company, JUTC, has been flashing items for its passengers.
The bus company had responded well in March to the early need for sanitization of vehicles:
But, in keeping with general laxness in observing health protocols such as wearing masks and keeping distance, evidence is clear that passengers don’t get or wont apply it. In April, JUTC issued a statement to the effect ‘no mask, no travel’:
However, anecdotal evidence is that this is not observed, nor are rules on only seated passengers.
In addition, the ministry of health and wellness is liaising with firms and the private sector organizations about new workplace protocols:
These efforts come as the Caribbean is being urged to do more to tackle COVID-19, especially in the context of the region’s known high incidence of NCDs:
Many people know that non-compliance with COVID protocols has a point where it can be displayed as violent opposition. While we are far from highly politicized protests, we saw this in Jamaica when curfews were introduced on April 1, with open defiance and some decided to openly flout restrictions on night one, only to be summarily embarrassed for so doing.
So it went on in the first month:
Transgressions occurred but enforcement seemed to be offsetting.
However, 4 1/2 months on from curfews being introduced from April 1, we see that recurring as enforcement of restrictions on entertainment hits a wall of resistance, yesterday, with police being attacked.
Several involved in organizing the party and some of the 200 patrons were quickly remanded in custody.
This has happened in other countries to varying degrees. Most embarrassing when politicians cannot hold strain, as in Kenya.
As various activities resume, however, we see that following protocols is a struggle even in the full public gaze, as in the NFL, which has fined several coaches heavily for mask-wearing breaches the past weekend:
Some useful infomation on budget was presented last night on where expenditure had been focused:
The first field hospital (from the USA) was accepted; they are modular and should facilitate more flexible responses to cases: