Proposed strategy for reopening the economy

Letters to the Editor

Proposed strategy for reopening the economy

Thursday, April 23, 2020

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Dear Editor,

This issue of reopening the Jamaican economy has to be approached sensibly and strategically or else the impact from the loss of human resources may be catastrophic.

The first thing that we must do in Jamaica is to maintain the social distancing requirements laid down by the Government backed by the doctors to flatten that curve. This will ensure that the very, very limited hospital resources in Jamaica are not run into the ground.

The next thing we must recognise is that the underlying conditions — high blood pressure, diabetes, etc — on which this virus feeds to create this high mortality rate is a genetic trait of most Jamaicans. I have many friends, some are even athletes, who have dropped dead because of these conditions under normal circumstances. So add COVID-19 and you have now created a perfect storm. Hence the need to ensure that the curve is flattened.

Other countries throughout the world, including China, South Korea, and Singapore, have formulas for reopening which, apart from flattening that curve, are predicated on achieving a less than 10 per cent infection rate backed up by aggressive testing and contact tracing. This really means that although infections will occur when we reopen, we can mitigate, manage, and control the effects.

We need to be selective in the roll-out and be very cautious and deliberate in doing this. Some lines of business, like massage parlours, barber shops, hairdressers, bars and recreational facilities, should reopen later and be brought in on a phased basis as we begin to see statistically less incidents of infection.

Lastly, every institution bringing workers back on-site should have those workers tested or, at the minimum, temperature checked before re-entry into the workforce. We can then possibly place those who have had the disease and fully recovered on the front line, as they must possess some degree of immunity.

Donovan McLean

Concerned Jamaican

Mississauga, Canada

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