JIS News

Mayor of St. Ann’s Bay, Councillor Michael Belnavis, is appealing for residents to continue to exercise vigilance against dengue even as the country grapples with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Speaking with JIS News on Monday (May 25), Mayor Belnavis argued that dengue remains “a clear and present danger”, which is why the St. Ann Municipal Corporation had encouraged residents to use Labour Day to rid their surroundings of mosquito breeding sites.

“Yes, we are facing the coronavirus pandemic, but that doesn’t mean that dengue has suddenly disappeared,” he said.

He is urging residents not to relax their guard as it relates to the mosquito-borne disease.

“Drains still need to be cleaned, garbage needs to be properly disposed of, and everything else that we were doing prior to COVID-19,” he pointed out.

“Just like how we have to prepare for the hurricane season, we still have to worry about dengue. In this new dispensation, we just have to learn to ride and whistle,” he added.

The Mayor hailed the “yeoman service” of health workers in the parish in the fight against COVID-19.

He said that residents should also be commended for obeying the curfew orders and for practising social distancing and other health and safety guidelines.

“It is as a result of this kind of responsible behaviour why St. Ann has one of the lowest cases of the coronavirus in the country,” he noted.

“We have been doing a lot of sanitisation work, notably in the resort town of Ocho Rios, and we have had our residents wearing masks and allowing their hands to be sanitised before entering a building,” he pointed out.

Meanwhile, the Mayor told JIS News that residents are anxious for the tourism sector to return to normalcy, noting that many of them have been laid off and “are just eager to return to work”.

“They understand that we have had to put the safety measures in place, such as the closing of the airports and seaports. They also understand that as soon as it is safe to do so, everything will be done to bring back the tourism sector to what we have been used to. It has not been an easy road, but I am very confident we will pull through this together,” he said.

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