Tribute to Michael Sharp

Madam Speaker, I wish to firstly take this opportunity to express condolences to the family and friends of Michael Sharp, who along with over 700 Jamaicans have experienced the worst outcome of this pandemic. Mr. Sharpe and I have engaged in many fora where I had the pleasure of engaging him on many issues affecting our nation. A journalist of the highest order and fearless in his pursuit of the truth. The nation will miss him and the contribution that he has made will undoubtedly redound to the upliftment of the whole human race. May his soul rest in eternal peace and let light perpetual shine on him.

Verbal Abuse of Healthcare Workers
Madam speaker, I must also take the opportunity to advise the public from spreading false information and verbally attacking healthcare workers who have done their job with distinction. In this era of social media, it is very easy for persons to receive false information and to then disseminate this information without checking the accuracy of the information received I wish to warn those persons who are involved in these types of miscreant behavior to cease and desist. We are all entitled to our opinions and views, we are not entitled to abuse others who share other viewpoints and especially in the conduct of their lawful duties.

Latest COVID-19 Update
Today Madam Speaker, the Ministry of Health and Wellness announced an additional 83 new cases identified in the last 24 hours as well as 6 new deaths, that were classified as being caused by COVID-19. However, based on our
epidemiological assessment there is some movement in the right direction and we should all take note of this. Our reproductive rate over the last 4 weeks have moved from 1.3% to 0.9% which is a clear indication of the slowing of the spread of the disease. Our positivity rate has fallen from a high of 42% to the reported 15.7% in today’s report. This represents the lowest positivity rate in over 8 weeks. These are indeed hopeful indicators that, once again we have been able to beat back the surge in COVID-19 cases.

This reduction in the number of cases is due, in the main, to the many sacrifices that have been made. Sacrifices at the individual, the family, the community, the organization and at the National Levels. These sacrifices have resulted in many hardships for the men and women who have had to give up their livelihoods and bear the economic brunt of lockdowns and other restrictions on movement. The entire team at the Ministry of Health and Wellness take note of these outcomes and we are very mindful of the negative effects that these necessary actions have caused. We
understand that many persons have found it more challenging to eke out a living and that many children have had significant learning loss due to the closure of schools.

We are also mindful of the psychological impact due to increased isolation especially of our elderly men and women.

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