Not another lockdown - Business people hope Government won’t have to take drastic step

August 11, 2020

Despite the number of positive COVID-19 cases surging to 1,031, and the number of deaths increasing to 14, the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) is adamant that another lockdown is not necessary.

"I think the tools and capabilities that we have built with the recruitment of our 1,300 community public health aids, and the more surgical approach that we have taken in terms of quarantining areas where we see cases emerging, is an approach that we would rather see and prefer to contain the spread of the virus," Keith Duncan, PSOJ president, told THE STAR.

Eyeing the economic fallout that would reoccur, Duncan is positive that the current government strategies should suffice.

"Once we can keep those numbers down, then we would not have to move to that phase of further restrictions. I do not believe at this point in time that a lockdown is at all necessary. We are recommending that we be proactive and continue with our surgical approach," he said.

Quite worrisome

Lloyd Distant, president of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC), believes that Jamaica is not at that state yet to revert to lockdown.

"But these trends are quite worrisome. If we don't start holding each other accountable and be responsible and disciplined, then we could quite likely end up in the position where that decision might need to be taken," he said.

But Nadeen Spence, head of the coalition of women's groups in Jamaica, says while the Government has a role to play, the onus is also on the Jamaican people to comply with what is implemented.

"That's what responsible citizenship is about. Not only are we faced with an election in the month of September, but we have been making preparations to send our children back to school and we have also heard that when children are in school, the infection rate increases in significant ways," she told THE STAR. "As we navigate, we all have to be reminded that we are hoping that economic activity will return, so that those Jamaicans who are still out of a job will return to work so they can start to provide and care for their families in the ways that they really want to."

Spence said that in conversations with the president of the parent-teachers' association and other groups, she noted that these groups are on board and preparing for the opening of schools.

"We cannot have children home another semester. We are doing much harm to them when we have them home without them going back to school," she said.

Spence said that Jamaica doesn't have the Internet capacity to facilitate studying at home, so children going back to school is a must.

"Parents want their children to go back to school and they want them to go back to school in a safe way. And of course people are not going to be reassured by the uptick in cases right now," she said.

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