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    • Custos of St. James, Bishop the Hon. Conrad Pitkin, on Friday (April 24), distributed over 450 reusable protective face masks to vendors and customers at the Charles Gordon Market, in Montego Bay, to help combat the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the parish.
    • The Custos shared that the venture was made possible through sponsorship from the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), Ping’s Fabric store, Montego Bay businessmen, Lachu Ramchandani and Fred Smith, among others.
    • Bishop Pitkin also used the opportunity to encourage members of the public to strictly adhere to the measures put in place by Government to control the spread of the virus.

    Custos of St. James, Bishop the Hon. Conrad Pitkin, on Friday (April 24), distributed over 450 reusable protective face masks to vendors and customers at the Charles Gordon Market, in Montego Bay, to help combat the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the parish.

    Bishop Pitkin told JIS News that the washable masks were manufactured using the specific recommendation of the Ministry of Health and Wellness.

    “It is a three-layer mask made to specification. It has fabric in the front, fabric in the back and flannel double layer cloth in the middle. What we have observed is that a lot of persons are wearing handkerchiefs or  paper masks, which can only be used once,” he said.

    The Custos shared that the venture was made possible through sponsorship from the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), Ping’s Fabric store, Montego Bay businessmen, Lachu Ramchandani and Fred Smith, among others.

    Bishop Pitkin indicated that he intends to distribute some 2,000 masks to the public, in an effort to slow the spread of the virus and prevent asymptomatic people from transmitting it to others.

    “We have some (currently being manufactured) and as soon as they are ready we will do the distribution. I have some to distribute at the Cornwall regional hospital also,” he added.

    The Custos is reminding persons that the appropriate use of masks is essential to avoid the risk of transmission of COVID-19.

    “We are also observing that persons are using their hands to hold the masks in the front, which would suggest that there is a need for an increase in [public] education, so people can know exactly how to use a mask for their own benefit,” he added.

    Bishop Pitkin also used the opportunity to encourage members of the public to strictly adhere to the measures put in place by Government to control the spread of the virus.

    “Some persons seem to be taking this thing lightly. My advice is, the coronavirus is a deadly thing and people need to understand and take the necessary precaution. People are arguing about not being able to leave their homes. While that can be understood, let us understand that the Government is moving in our best interest as citizens,” the Custos said.

    In the meantime, vendors at the market have expressed gratitude to Bishop Pitkin for his act of generosity.

    Cassandra Taylor told JIS News that the masks will help to protect individuals who are unable to purchase the protective gear.

    “They are telling people about the virus and not everybody can afford a mask. So, when I look and see they come and issue masks to people, I appreciate that,” she said.

    Carlton Earl, who travels from Bethel Town, Westmoreland, to sell his produce at the Charles Gordon Market, said he is thankful, noting that he had been using a handkerchief as a makeshift mask.

    “The Custos issuing masks is so good, because not everyone can afford to buy one. I got one and I am blessed and appreciative,” he added.

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