(JAMAICA GLEANER) – Jamaica has been recognised among countries that were most prepared for the coronavirus by the United States-based newspaper the Miami Herald.
The herald says Jamaica, Puerto Rico, El Salvador, Peru and a handful of others responded to the crisis with forceful measures that seemed excessive just days ago but now seem prescient.
It was noted that Jamaica was one of the first countries in the Caribbean to react to coronavirus, after seeing its first case on March 10.
It was further noted that the country barred flights from hotzones, restricted the movement of tourists, enforced quarantines for all new arrivals and cancelled school, among other measures.
It also put part of an entire town, Bull Bay, on lockdown.
More below from the Miami Herald:
Is It Working?
Now, while Jamaica has 26 coronavirus cases, neighbouring Cuba has 48 and the Dominican Republic has at least 312, according to Pan American Health Organization, PAHO.
While health professionals say such draconian, isolating measures are the only true safeguard against a novel virus, it’s still too soon to tell if the strategy is truly working.
The stringent measures do have one clear benefit, however: They buy time.
Jamaica has been using its measured response to buy ventilators, protective gear and hospital beds, explained Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton.
“Early in the day we decided it was better to take fairly strong measures – starting with public education, and then graduating into other restrictions in order to at least contain it, even while we prepare our public health system to deal with the inevitable,” he told the Miami Herald.