New COVID restrictions in Jamaica through June 2-May 5, 2021

PM Andrew Holness announced new restrictions for the period throuhg June 2, covering the Memorial Day holiday in late May:

While most restrictions are unchanged, schools will go back to in-person for certain examinees from May 10.

Also, the travel ban from the UK has been lifted, while a ban has been placed on travel from Trinidad & Tobago.

Many are against renewed visitors from the UK not least because of the UK variant, and despite the UK making good progress with vaccinations, but are mindful that a previous surge had possible origins in the resumption of travel from the UK.

COVID-19 in Jamaica: Wary of a Third Wave-May 2, 2021

This excellent summary of the still-high concerns about the possibility of a 3rd COVID ‘wave’/‘surge’ in Jamaica, by fellow blogger, Emma Lewis, is worth a careful read. Its points about reopening Jamaica’s borders, especially to the UK (in light of evidence that the UK variant was behind our current 2nd wave) point to the ongoing tussle over lives versus livelihoods.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness held one of their regular press briefings on April 29. It was not hard to detect a change of tone – and it was …

COVID-19 in Jamaica: Wary of a Third Wave

Golf therapy, almost perfect for socially distanced living-May 1, 2021

This is familiar sight on many Saturday mornings; around dawn, with sun just risen and dew still heavy on the ground.

COVID hasn’t limited much casual golf as it’s easy to play without being close to others. Handling equipment and sharing motorized carts can cause problems and many now use push carts and no caddies.

I’m out many days a week for walking with a visiting friend from Canada and doing some practice while he plays 9 holes or 18 often. At the weekend, I often join a foursome, who play while I walk nearby. We joke and often share some homemade baked goods.

I’m sure my state of mind and body are much better for that.

COVID update, Jamaica-April 30, 2021

Health and wellness minister, Dr. Chris Tufton gave a broad update on COVID trends, yesterday evening, including stressing the need for people to get their second vaccination, which are noted in the thread, below:

The chief medical officer, Dr. Jaqueline Bisasor-McKenzie, added an extensive assessment of how trends has been affected by various restrictive measures. She gave stark warnings that a third wave could occur if people ease off the protocols and it would likely be worse than the previous two.

It would likely push health services way beyond their capacity.

She cited a long list of countries that were in a third wave, though the worst situation is in India, having its 2nd wave, whose crisis now needed help from other countries.

With that background, Dr. Tufton pointed to confirmation that the ‘UK variant’ had been found in Jamaica and was perhaps behind the 2nd wave:

When asked about statements that flights from the UK would resume on May 1, he gave a circuitous reply, suggesting the decision had not yet been taken but was for consideration by Cabinet subcommittee over the coming weekend.

This clearly begs the question whether tourism minister Bartlett’s categorical statement on reopening borders to the UK was premature.

Vaccination Blitz review-April 15, 2021

This week’s ‘COVID Conversation’ press conference focused on the recent vaccination blitz:

The full video follows:

The experience was a great success, with record numbers of vaccines for a single day and targets exceeded over the 4-day period. Nearly 84,000 were vaccinated. Details were provided of the age distribution of vaccination, so far:

The minister regretted some delays or people being turned away as demand was excessive. He praised all involved for the national efforts. Health workers needed a few days’ break and must also get back to addressing other issues.

Another blitz would await securing additional vaccines. Meanwhile, vaccination would revert to the appointment system from April 19, when additional 55,000 doses from COVAX should be available.

After vaccination experience was discussed:

The CMO warned against complacency after a single vaccination dose:

We got an update on the current COVID situation, which is improving, with lower positivity rates and hospitalisation, looking at parish experiences and adverse events after vaccination:

Blitzed out and new curfews-April 14, 2021

Demand for vaccines remained high on the 4th and final day of the blitz and several main centres had to close early (around noon) because their supply was finished.

That caused some hiccups and people were unable to get vaccinated or unable to make another journey. Priority at other locations was supposed to go to those with appointments. Hopefully, appointments in coming weeks will resolve those problem.

New curfew arrangements were announced by the PM and will be in effect for the next three weekends, with shorter curfews on Saturdays and Sundays.

Jamaican flair was on display at some vaccination sites with impromptu music and performances happening.

Jamaica targets 50,000 in 4-day vaccination blitz-April 12, 2021

50,000 vaccines was the target for vaccines.

Nearly 12,500 vaccines were given on day 1 of the 4-day blitz:

Day 2 saw over 18,000 vaccines for a total just under 31,000 for the weekend:

Experience nationwide showed heavy demand:

The minister for health and wellness reported there’s capacity to vaccinate 55,000 by Tuesday:

More locations will be used to account for the higher demand.

Decisions about further expanding access will be made after Tuesday

Vaccination Blitzes-April 11, 2021

A 3-day push to vaccinate began on April 10:

Mixed success was the best assessment, with rain hampering some sites. But, turnout was decent.

But problems emerged early on but were fixed at the National Arena, in part because other sites closed and appointments not respected:

https://twitter.com/jamaicaobserver/status/1380994714149793803?s=21

Nevertheless, the 1000 vaccines target was met there:

Targets were exceeded for tourism workers, with over 1000 doses:

https://twitter.com/jamaicagleaner/status/1381078274839867392?s=21

Delays were common though things got smoother:

Smaller locations appeared to manage their tasks better.

Those eligible for vaccines will be extended today to over-50 and over-40 with comorbidities and transport sector workers:

https://twitter.com/christufton/status/1381077420044865537?s=21

COVID update-April 9, 2021

The ministry of health and wellness press conference last night provided an overall update and focused on the vaccination programme:

The CMO discussed recent trends, which show a peak had been reached in cases and hospitalization, positivity and reproductive rates. She also discussed “adverse events” with vaccines highlighting recent claims about rare blood clots and the AstraZeneca vaccines. The incidence is extremely low and benefits far outweigh risks.

Vaccines are now open to those over 60 and selected groups-staff Members of the Department of Correctional Services, Jamaica Fire Brigade, PICA and Jamaica Customs, tourism workers and teachers and other employees of educational institutions will be registered through their respective organizations:

Additional supplies-75,000 doses-arrived from the African Medical Support Platform, yesterday, bringing a total of about 135,000-enough for only about 5 percent of the population.

Vaccinations had reached 96% of March target.

Weekend blitz will now become a national exercise, and be over several days, starting April 9 and ending April 13, across the country (44 sites), from 9am-. The ministry has learned from experience of weekend blitzes of past two weekends. The target for the latest blitz is 50,000 doses. Curfew restrictions won’t apply to those going for vaccination.