Contrary to information circulating on social media platforms, Jamaica’s health minister, Dr. Christopher Tufton, says the highly contagious Delta variant is not on the island.
Tufton made the disclosure in a tweet on Thursday (July 22) cautioning that despite the lack of confirmation of the variant on the island, Jamaicans should “assume it is here and protect themselves accordingly”.
Jamaica’s COVID-19 situation worsening?
Tufton’s advice comes on the heels of information that the COVID-19 situation in the country may be worsening, following the relaxation of protocols as of July 1.
Speaking at a Ministry of Health’s press conference “COVID-19 Conversations” on Thursday (July 22), national epidemiologist Dr. Karen Webster Carr revealed that the COVID-19 reproductive rate had increased to 1.2.
According to Carr, the country had previously managed to maintain a reproductive rate of below 1 for sixteen weeks.
However, Carr noted that the increase in reproductive rate coincided with the relaxation of COVID-19 measures.
What about vaccines?
While containment measures are one part of the strategy in the fight against COVID-19, vaccinations which are touted as a way out of the pandemic, remains low.
According to Tufton, once a new batch of vaccines arrive, the government will be lifting its restrictions on who can get inoculated.
“Once more shipments come in, we’ll be opening up the vaccination programme to all who qualify. So there’ll be no restrictions on age cohorts. So anyone in this instance over 18,” said Tufton.
Tufton also indicated under the new policy, private doctors would be allowed to administer the jab.