Jamaica Seeking To Learn From COVID-19 Experience

The Government is documenting information about the coronavirus (COVID-19) in order to better understand the virus, improve the management and treatment of the infection, while boosting the resilience of the country’s public health system.

Speaking in a recent interview with JIS News, Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. Christopher Tufton, said work is under way to ensure that the country and the health system learn from the pandemic.

“We have an Epidemiology Unit headed by Dr. [Karen] Webster Kerr and we are documenting all that is happening… because we need to learn from this experience and we need to use this experience to make the public health system more resilient. It is something that we need to do and it is something that I am pushing for,” he said.

Dr. Tufton noted that the Health Ministry is collaborating with the University of the West Indies (UWI) to document responses being generated through a call centre being manned by medical students.

The Government has instituted several measures to minimise the spread of COVID-19 in Jamaica, including the closure of all business process outsourcing (BPO) facilities for 14 days starting Wednesday (April 22); the mandatory wearing of masks in public, an islandwide curfew from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. daily; closure of the country’s airports and seaports to incoming travellers, a stay-at-home order for persons 70 years and older, having non-essential employees work from home, limiting public gatherings to not more than 10 persons, the closure of schools, among others.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness recommends that persons practise proper hygiene by frequently washing hands with soap and running water or using a sanitiser, and observe social distancing by staying three to six feet away from others when in public.

The social distancing rule is particularly important in preventing persons from coming into contact with droplets from the cough or sneeze of others who are sick.