Jamaica News: The Ministry of Health and Wellness is building out the necessary protocols for coronavirus (COVID-19) antibody and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing.
Portfolio Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, said developing the testing protocols is in keeping with measures to ensure that “we can provide the support that is necessary for the effective and efficient operation of the society”.
“Within the new normal, we must ensure that we are aware of the risks and that these risks are managed both on the personal level and at the level of the society. In the new normal, everyone must count,” Dr. Tufton said, during a statement to the House of Representatives on Tuesday (May 19).
“As a society, we must have a sense of heightened awareness and accountability for our own personal health and take charge of this responsibility by ensuring that we have all the required information to make rational choices as we go about our daily lives,” he added.
Dr. Tufton noted that the Ministry has already engaged in health promotion and protection strategies, which has yielded significant outcomes in terms of the behaviour of the population to the washing of hands, the sanitising of surfaces and the wearing of masks.
He said that these actions not only “protect you but also protect those among us who may be least able to protect themselves”.
“As we return to work, there is a need for increased vigilance and adherence to these protocols. Now is the time when we are required to put into full practice all the actions that we have been using, to ensure that we not only prevent ourselves from infection but that we protect the vulnerable,” Dr. Tufton added.
Turning to reports of stigma and discrimination surrounding COVID-19, the Health Minister said that the heightened levels of fear, which lead to irrational actions, can have very negative outcomes.
“As a people, we must note that as we ensure that everyone counts, persons who have been affected by COVID-19 are seen as part of the answer and not part of the problem.
“We must ensure that in the new normal, antisocial actions that lead to persons being discriminated against because they have contracted the disease are eliminated. COVID-19 is not a death sentence, and the country needs to come to terms with that reality,” Dr. Tufton said.