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Prime Minister the Most Hon. Andrew Holness has reiterated calls for Jamaicans to be more responsible in adhering to the infection prevention and control measures put in place to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Following a sharp increase in the COVID-19 cases, Mr. Holness warned that complacency could erode the success gained in controlling the virus, which will result in a second and more dangerous outbreak across the island.

“Our success can easily become our failure. If we believe that because we have had such low death rates and relatively low rates in terms of infection and that the worst has passed, then we are only fooling ourselves and lulling ourselves into a state of complacency, which will bring on a second wave which could potentially be more dangerous than the first. We have seen this happen in many countries before,” Mr. Holness said.

The Prime Minister was speaking at a ceremony in Barrett Town, St. James on Friday (August 7), following a tour of several projects in the community, spearheaded by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF).

Mr. Holness also appealed to Jamaicans, to observe the protocols outlined under the Disaster Risk Management Act.

“There are measures which we call infection prevention and control methods that we should utilize. Chief among them, if you are ill with respiratory type symptoms or difficulty breathing, if you are ill with flu like symptoms… what should you do, stay at home. We have seen people breaching this,” he urged.

“The other infection prevention and control method is if you are going out in public wear a mask, yes it is an imposition… it is important to wear the mask… wearing a mask reduces the probability of the spread,” Mr. Holness continued.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Holness stressed that the protocols that are in place will work to eliminate the virus, as the Government cannot resort to closing the country’s borders at this time.

“Jamaica is a country that has a diaspora that is larger than the population on the island and that means our economy is inextricably linked to the countries in which those members of the diaspora resides. We are an economy where more than 40 per cent of our foreign exchange is dependent on tourism… the economy cannot survive long without it unless we diversify into other areas and that takes time,” he said.

“The prospect of closing our borders for an extended period is not one that is feasible. We would be cutting off our nose to spite our face.

So Jamaica more than any other country, must learn very quickly how to live with COVID- 19, that is the reality,” Prime Minister Holness added.

The total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the island now stands at 987.

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