Jamaica can do better with COVID-19 fight, says tourism ministerMonday, September 27, 2021
Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett has said that the below-zero infection rate in the tourism resilient corridor is proof that Jamaica has the capacity to better manage the SARS-COV-2 infection rate which is now just under 30 per cent.
“We created the resilient corridor which is a model of how to manage space to enable the reduction in infections, the result of which is that the resilient corridor boasts a 0.521 per cent infection level in a country where the infection levels (soared in recent weeks to) well over 45 per cent. What that tells us is that we do have the capacity as a people to manage and manage better. We must use it,” Bartlett said yesterday.
His remarks came during the virtual church service to mark World Tourism Day which is being observed today. The day is being celebrated under the theme “Tourism for Inclusive Growth”.
“When we speak about tourism for inclusiveness, we leave no one behind, we must manage our stewardship so that we leave no one behind,” Bartlett said, as Jamaica fights to stave off a third wave of the pandemic.
The resilient corridors were set up at the start of the pandemic last year to reduce the contact between the local population and tourists include — the north coast from Negril to Port Antonio; the south coast from Milk River to Negril; and the Kingston Business District (New Kingston and its environs).
Yesterday, the tourism minister, who is now on a tour of the United States and Canada as part of a blitz promoting the island's tourism sector, said the industry has become the lynchpin of the island's economic recovery.
“In recent weeks and months, as we look at overall how we have recovered, the presence of tourism as the driver of that recovery has been so evident. We have generated for the year so far US$1.2 billion into the economy and we have brought over a million visitors into the country. We have managed the process in dealing with the pandemic in a very exemplary way and I say that without equivocation because the world has taken note of the way in which Jamaica's protocols have been carried through effectively and well by the players in the industry and the nation as a whole,” Bartlett stated.
He, in the meantime, encouraged Jamaicans to accept the vaccines being offered under the national vaccination programme.
“Vaccines — the one medical solution that science has given us, which is incomplete, but it offers us the best opportunity for mitigating the impact of the virus, it offers the only real chance of building resistance against infection which mitigates hospitalisation and death and that is vaccination. So, I beg you, the vaccines which are now available, while we celebrate inclusiveness, let us include vaccination in the mix because that's what is going to make our recovery complete but more importantly save lives,” he added.
Yesterday, Jamaica's Health Ministry said that up to Saturday there were 429 new confirmed cases, bringing the overall confirmed cases in the island since last March to 82,778. It also said that the island's positivity rate at the time was 27.2 per cent.
There were 10 new fatalities, pushing the toll so far to 1,834.