PNP wants gov't to give reasons for reduction in COVID testingWednesday, April 21, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica— People's National Party (PNP) spokesman on health and wellness, Dr Morais Guy has called on Minister of Health, Dr Christopher Tufton, to explain, what he called a “precipitous drop in the number of PCR tests being conducted daily for COVID-19.''
In a statement today, Guy said that the number of daily tests have fallen from over 2000, prior to the tightening of COVID measures, to about 450.
The spokesman said the drop requires an explanation, ''as the country may be lulled into a false sense of security about infection levels.''
''Daily testing averaged almost 1500 in the first three weeks of March, but fell to less than 800 in the first three weeks of April and as low as 452 on Monday, April 19. This has resulted in a decreased number of cases,'' he said.
“If this represents progress in the fight against the virus, we would all be happy, but if the low numbers result from less testing, calamity awaits us”, he added.
Guy said that the present testing levels are too low.
“With present positivity rates hovering at 20 per cent, Jamaica is falling short of the World Health Organisation (WHO) standard, which calls for testing levels of ten to thirty times the number of positive cases.”
Dr Guy said that the ministry must resume a robust testing regime to protect the population, provide health professionals with improved information and put the public healthcare system in a better position to provide services.
In his statement he noted that the country undertook major expenditures last year to procure necessary equipment to improve testing capacity, which is now being under-utilised.
“We need to get testing levels up, particularly now that the healthcare staff are not being diverted to the vaccination programme,” he said.
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