JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Delivering the keynote address at the handover of a $40 million genome sequencing machine at the National Influenza Centre (NIC) at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) in St. Andrew on Friday (October 22), Mr. Holness said that the resources being provided are increasing the country’s capacity to respond to emerging health challenges.
  •  “We will now have the capacity to manage the endemic phase of the pandemic, because there are always going to be new strains of the virus emerging, and we don’t have to wait six weeks to know if it is here. Our policies and strategies can be informed much better than before, and actions can be taken much earlier,” Mr. Holness said.
  • He also called for continued vigilance on the part of citizens, in adhering to the health control and prevention measures, including the wearing of masks, and appealed for persons to take the vaccines.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the Government is equipping the public health system to manage the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and future emergencies.

Delivering the keynote address at the handover of a $40 million genome sequencing machine at the National Influenza Centre (NIC) at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) in St. Andrew on Friday (October 22), Mr. Holness said that the resources being provided are increasing the country’s capacity to respond to emerging health challenges.

He noted that “there will always be adverse events outside of our control” and the Government must be “deliberate and systematic in building our resilience and investing in our capacity to understand future shocks, and this is exactly what we are doing. We are enhancing our national capacity to test for not only new variants that cause COVID-19, but for other viruses that may emerge in the future.”

The equipment, purchased by the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund, an agency of the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), will facilitate testing for new COVID-19 variants.

Currently, samples taken in Jamaica, are being sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in Trinidad and Tobago.

While mutations are commonplace in how viruses spread, the data from genomic sequencing can provide information on which variants are the main drivers, which can help determine relevant measures.

“We will now have the capacity to manage the endemic phase of the pandemic, because there are always going to be new strains of the virus emerging, and we don’t have to wait six weeks to know if it is here. Our policies and strategies can be informed much better than before, and actions can be taken much earlier,” Mr. Holness said.

The Prime Minister commended the healthcare workers, whom he noted, “continue to go above and beyond,” to protect the health and safety of citizens.

He also called for continued vigilance on the part of citizens, in adhering to the health control and prevention measures, including the wearing of masks, and appealed for persons to take the vaccines.

 

 

Skip to content