By EARYEL BOWLEG
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE head of the Consultant Physicians Staff Association has suggested more enforcement of COVID-19 protocols is necessary in view of reports of large events being held recently.
Dr Sabriquet Pinder-Butler also said if it is decided more restrictions are needed to protect public health, then the country should be willing to do what is necessary.
She spoke after Health Minister Dr Michael Darville indicated on Tuesday changes may come to COVID-19 protocols for large gatherings.
Several events occurred over the weekend, including a Junkanoo rush out and a large party at the Botanical Gardens.
The CPSA president told reporters yesterday: “We know that there’s a process perhaps that needs to be communicated more widely for persons to be aware that they should be contacting the ministry prior to having events so that they are also aware of the proper COVID protocols that are necessary.
“Having said that, unfortunately we know that despite us sometimes having rules and regulations, unless we have persons policing those things similarly with seat belts, etc, we just aren’t always able to police ourselves on our own.
"So, I think that the ministry perhaps needs to look again at re-engaging the COVID police, the ambassadors, etc, to perhaps visit these activities before they occur and perhaps visit while they’re going on just to ensure that we’re all following those guidelines.”
She added that in various countries there have been restrictions reimplemented due to a rise in COVID-19 cases. She said all citizens “must do what is necessary” to ensure the safety of the country.
She said: “If we want to continue to allow this country to continue to flourish, our economy to move forward, our children to return to school, then all of us as citizens have to do what is necessary. . .”
The latest dashboard from the Ministry of Health showed a huge jump in daily COVID-19 cases, from 26 to 79.
Last week, there was also a slight in crease in cases.
Asked if more restrictions are needed, Dr Pinder-Butler answered: “Sometimes you know when things and events can change and are fluid, we know that it would mean that we too would also have to look at what’s in the best interest of our people because this just does not impact one of us.
“This is a public health global crisis and I think this is why we have seen many countries' restrictions have had to be reintroduced and certainly I think that as a people we too have to be mindful of that. We’ve had restrictions before. I know that we don’t like restrictions. We like our freedom and I think that is something that we should all want to embrace, but we have to also be safe.
“We don’t want persons to lose their lives. We don’t want hospitalisations that aren’t necessary and if we do have to look at having other restrictions to safeguard our population I think it’s something that we should consider. But in the meantime, so that we try to mitigate that from happening we have to do our best to follow those preventative measures.”
With the Omicron variant spreading internationally, there have been questions raised about more stringent testing requirements for travellers entering the country. The association president said certain aspects should be taken into consideration.
“We know that with us fighting this pandemic for almost two years we have to look at what is considered best practices and if it is that the World Health Organisation and other standard bodies consider that those are things that would help us to be able to detect cases more readily, etc, and we look at perhaps the economic cost and the timeline these things may occur as it relates to travel, we too as a country would have to consider those things and see if it would benefit us,” she said.