Tufton calls for end to COVID conspiracies

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Tufton calls for end to COVID conspiracies

BY HORACE HINES
Observer staff reporter
hinesh@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, September 26, 2020

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FALMOUTH, Trelawny — Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton has dismissed what he called the reckless circulation of COVID-19 conspiracies in the public domain which, he said, only serve to compromise Government's response to the virus which is now in the community transmission phase.

“...You have the COVID conspiracy around election and when it was called, and whether you announced information before or after; you have the COVID conspiracy around vaccination and whether you in league with Bill Gates in order to push vaccination on black people; you have the COVID conspiracy around drug trials, with things being circulated about whether we are doing this in the interest of the people or doing in the interest of the industry. There are too many COVID conspiracies that are dominating, unfortunately main stream conversations, which, frankly speaking, does nothing for the COVID response but to undermine the strategic thinking and the collaborative effort that is necessary to advance an effective and efficient strategy to overcome this global threat and this threat to the Jamaican people,” said Tufton.

“We are very sincere about what we are doing,” Dr Tufton argued, “and so far, as a country, we have done well in containing the spread of the disease thus we mustn't beat up on ourselves”.

He added: “ There are many persons who have had much greater difficulties, some with far more resources than us and never got it right until late in the day. I commend the public health team. I recognise the contribution of persons who have spent 15, 18 hours days; 24 hours a day, around the clock on standby responding and developing an approach to dealing with this public health threat for the last seven to eight months, long before the first case came to Jamaica. Many are tired, many are burnt out but they stick to the wheels and do it as their obligation to the health and wellness of the Jamaican people. We cannot allow the COVID conspiracies or COVID conspiracy theories to undermine the effort of the COVID response.”

He implored Jamaicans who are doubtful over Government's modus operandi in dealing with measures to contain the virus to seek audience with the Ministry of Health and Wellness for clarification.

“We have never been hesitant to sit down and have a conversation. Don't write or talk things that promote panic because panic is the enemy of the response to the COVID fight that we are taking on,” he said.

Dr Tufton was speaking yesterday at Falmouth Public General Hospital during the contract signing between the Ministry of Health and Wellness and Rogers Land Development Limited for the establishment of two COVID field hospitals. One of the facilities will be constructed at the Falmouth Public General Hospital and the other at the St Joseph's in Kingston.

The two field hospitals will be constructed at a combined cost of $199 million and are expected to be completed between six to eight weeks. Both facilities will boast 36 beds each.

Dr Tufton noted that with the two field hospitals and another one at the National Chest Hospital — a gift from the US Government — and a mobile field hospital that is being worked on, will provide a total of 150 addition beds to the 350 existing COVID beds in hospitals across the country.

The minister, meanwhile, warned that more beds would be needed if people continue to flout the COVID-19 protocols.

“If we don't follow the rules then it would likely mean that we are going to need a lot more than 500 beds because persons would have acted contrary to the deliberate plans that we have in order to manage and control the spread of the virus. Everything is not in the control of the Government; it is a collaborated effort that involves all of us and we must work together,” Dr Tufton stated.


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