Growing COVID positivity could lead to entertainment industry scrutiny

Adjustments could eventually be made to the opening of the island’s entertainment industry, given the rising rate of COVID positivity locally, which is being closely monitored by health authorities.

COVID-19 infections are expected to rise nationwide in the coming weeks as positivity and reproduction rates, which stood at 16 percent and 1.4 percent respectively on Thursday, increase.

Speaking at Thursday’s press briefing on COVID conversations, Minister of Health and Welfare Dr Christopher Tufton said the reopening of the island’s entertainment sector, which had been closed for two years , was a signal that the government remains committed to finding the right balance with respect to the management of COVID. .

But, given the rise in the positivity rate locally, he said if necessary, a review of this decision relating to the entertainment industry could take place.

Dr. Christopher Tufton (file photo)

“The entertainment industry has been shut down virtually for the best part of two years at a high cost — a social cost (as well as an) economic cost,” Tufton said.

“Removing restrictions and keeping entertainment closed would be, frankly, a very unfair position, and clearly would not strike the balance we were looking to achieve when we decided to take these measures once we saw the decline in the last wave,” the minister said. continued.

“Again, there are risks, but we felt it was worth taking the risk at this particular time. That doesn’t mean we won’t continue to review and adjust, if necessary,” he said. he added.

Tufton’s comments were made against the backdrop of criticism of what was described as the “premature” end of COVID measures under the Disaster Risk Management Act (DRMA), in light of the low rate of vaccination of the island and the highly transmissible BA.2 variant which has now been detected in Jamaica.

Both Tufton and Prime Minister Andrew Holness have defended the decision to drop mandatory protocols under DRMA, citing the need for a return to normalcy in the country.