Jamaica Concerned Over Potential Increase in COVID-19 Cases Amid Reopening

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Jamaica Concerned Over Potential Increase in COVID-19 Cases Amid Reopening

Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness has defended his decision to reopen the entertainment industry and amend some of the COVID-19 protocols, including the nightly curfew, but admitted that he is also fearful of another COVID-19 spike.

On June 22, Prime Minister Holness announced that parties and other entertainment events will be allowed to be held on the island as of July 1. But several organizations, including the Jamaica Teachers Association and the Medical Association, raised concerns that the reopening of the sector was too much, too soon.

But the Prime Minister has defended his decision, saying that the government cannot allow Jamaicans who depend on the entertainment industry for income to continue to suffer.

“I want us to be practical and just think practically: How long can we continue to do this? How long? Suppose vaccines don’t come? Suppose the vaccines are not effective? Can we continue just shut down the country and don’t do any economic activity?” asked Holness.

Prime Minister Holness says that just like many organizations and citizens, he is also fearful that the reopening could lead to another COVID-19 spike. But he said he is confident that Jamaicans will adhere to the COVID-19 protocols.

“I too have the fear that there could probably be a spike, but I have great faith and confidence in our people that, (though) there is an element of indiscipline and recalcitrance in our population, thank God that there is still a large number of responsible people in leadership and in the general citizenry who will protect themselves and their families and communities in responsible action,” he said.

Prime Minister Holness said that citizens must take responsibility for preventing another surge of the virus. He also asserted that just like every other industry currently opened, the entertainment sector will have to abide by the COVID-19 protocols outlined by the government if it wants to stay open.