By Avellon Williams
KINGSTON, JAMAICA – In an attempt to curb the rampaging Delta strain of the COVID-19
virus, Jamaica has implemented what is now called ‘no movement days.’ Those days are Sunday
22 August, Monday 23, August, Tuesday 24, August, Sunday 29 August, Monday 30, August,
Tuesday 31, August, and Sunday 5, August.
According to Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, “this tightening of the curfew hours is part of the Government’s infection prevention and control measures, aimed at reducing hospitalizations and deaths.” Jamaica now has a 7- day rolling
average of 630; with 1483 COVID-19 related deaths.
Additionally, as of August 28, only 4.8 % of Jamaicans have been fully vaccinated, with 12.5%
receiving 1 dose.
The Island’s heavy dependence on tourism and its proximity to the United States have left it vulnerable to the entry of the Delta. Together with the Bahamas, Jamaica was one of the Caribbean Islands to reopen its borders to international travel from the United States and Europe.
Now, reports are emerging from this Caribbean Island about the dire need for hospital beds and
oxygen tanks to treat critically ill patients. There are currently 16223 active cases on the Island,
with 61 of these being critically ill.
This current situation which has overwhelmed the Jamaican health situation has the potential to affect the care of other patients who have not been affected by COVID, but who will need treatment for other diseases.
What is troubling in this scenario is the abysmally low rate of vaccination among the Jamaican
population. Jamaica was the first country in the Caribbean to receive vaccines through the
COVAX facility since March 15th this year, but compared to Trinidad and Tobago which began
its mass vaccination program in April; its vaccination rate is an abysmal 4.8% compared to 27%
by the latter.
While no movement days may curb the spread of the Delta variant, it only offers a temporary
solution to a permanent problem. Prime Minister Holness and his Government must embark on
an aggressive vaccination promotion drive to convince citizens that the permanent solution is
vaccination of the population.