Opposition leader Dr. Peter Philips has slammed the Andrew Holness led administration for its failure to accept the advice of health professionals leading up to the Emancipation and Independence weekend.
According to the People’s National Party (PNP) leader, the consequence of Holness’ failure to tighten the curfew and the restrictions has been linked to a spike in COVID-19 cases.
Phillips called the blatant disregard for the advice of the country’s health professionals as the worst act of political irresponsibility ever seen in Jamaica since Independence.
Over the last week, Jamaica recorded over 500 new COVID-19 cases, which Phillips says has had a “paralyzing” effect on the country sending many people to hospital.
He said that given the virtual chaos that now exists in the hospitals with the scarcity of medicine, shortage of staff, basic equipment and supplies, the increasing number of COVID-19 cases pose an ominous threat to the country.
Phillips said the government should take immediate steps to empower and equip the public health sector to cope with the increasing spike in COVID-19 cases and save the lives of critically ill patients.
“The health facilities must be properly equipped as a matter of urgency. This means much more than PR; concrete steps must be taken to widen the capabilities through the setting up of a field hospital, better equipping our health care system, and employing more frontline workers where they are required and available,” Dr. Phillips said.
Phillips also stressed the need for a public education programme on basic home care which he said should begin immediately, so that persons in isolation have information on a course of action to prevent them from falling gravely ill.
The looming economic impact
Phillips further said that health situation has jeopardised the economy.
“It is not a good sign that we have descended to this. There are serious implications for the economy and the country’s perception as a safe destination at this time,” said Phillips.
Phillips cited news that the British Government had recently added Jamaica to a list of countries where nationals need a 14-day quarantine regime on return home.
Phillips also bashed the government with regard to the upcoming election slamming the administration for being “focused on power”.
“The fact that the spike is increasing as we prepare for the national poll, not due until next year, demonstrates that this administration was focused on power and public relations, and not on the true welfare of the Jamaican people,” Phillips lamented.
Phillips also used the occasion to encourage citizens to heed the basic guidelines for safety.
“Observe social distancing, wear your masks, sanitize and be alert as you exercise your constitutional right to vote for a government you can truly trust with your welfare and safety, the People’s National Party,” added Phillips.