Holness warns against complacency and new COVID-19 variantsWednesday, July 21, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Prime Minister Andrew Holness says that he rejects the notion that opening up the economy and maintaining a low COVID-19 infection rate are not possible.
However, he said that based on the visible warning signals the government has been seeing, the sub-committee of the Cabinet will be meeting this week-end to discuss the current situation.
“Based on the early warning signs that we are seeing, the COVID Sub-Committee of Cabinet will be meeting this weekend to review the situation, to consider whether there may be a need to tighten some of the measures in advance of August,” he told the House of Representatives in a statement today.
“As I had done last month when I announced the new measures, I want to urge all Jamaicans to exercise extreme caution: This is not the time to become complacent. I want to reinforce the need for everyone to be vigilant about observing the protocols and keeping ourselves and each other safe,” he told fellow parliamentarian at their last scheduled meeting before the summer break.
“Some may say that I am being alarmist, and that some amount of uptick in our numbers would have been naturally expected as a result of greater movement and gatherings. We have seen from the experience of other countries and, indeed, from our own experience, how insidious this virus is and how quickly spikes can occur,” he stated.
He noted that the US Centre for Disease Control (CDC) reported last week that the seven-day moving average of daily new cases had increased by 69.3 percent in one week between, July 9 and July 16.
Holness also warned that the new more transmissible variant — the Delta variant — is now the dominant variant globally.
“It now represents almost all cases in the UK and 83 per cent of all genome-sequenced samples In the United States. While the samples we have sent off for genome sequencing have not indicated the presence of the variant in Jamaica thus far, it would be wishful thinking for us to believe that it will not make its way to Jamaica, if it is not already here,” he noted.
He said that several countries whose vaccination levels far exceed Jamaica’s were seeing spikes in new cases, as a result of the delta and other variants. However, the data also clearly showed that the vaccines are effective in preventing hospitalisation or death. In the United States, 97 per cent of the people being hospitalised are unvaccinated.
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