Jamaicans have to learn to live with Covid-19 pandemic – PM Holness

By Demion McTair. Updated 3:08 a.m., Tuesday 12 May, 2020, Atlantic Standard Time (GMT-4).

Kingston, Jamaica (ONE NEWS SVG) – Jamaica’s Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, has articulated a growing narrative among leaders and officials that we have to learn to live with the Covid-19 pandemic.

At a press briefing on May 11, Holness said “more than other countries, Jamaicans have to learn to live with the COVID pandemic”.

He said, however, that “more than other countries, Jamaicans must be faithful and responsible in following the orders given because that is the only way that we are going to return to our full capacity economy with a new normal”.

He made his statements in the context of economic decisions which have to be taken to keep Jamaica’s economy up and running, including continued payment of salaries and wages for public sector workers.

“We must return our economy to as close as capacity as possible. Jamaica does not have the luxury of other economies that have large savings” – Mr. Holness said.

The Prime Minister said that if the economy does not get as close as possible to full capacity, savings of the middle class and the government will evaporate in a matter of weeks.

He said that public sector layoff is not something that is within the government’s contemplation, due to the management of the nation’s finances. But, he said if the economy does not get back as close as possible to normal, the second and third order of the crisis will be incalculable.

Meanwhile, Portfolio Minister, Desmond McKenzie said at the May 11 press conference that notice will be given for the opening of bars; hours are to be from 11 a.m., (but closed during curfew hours) subject to certain conditions which must be strictly adhered to”.


Holness’ remarks join a chorus of other leaders and officials such as David Nabarro, special envoy for Covid-19 for the World Health Organization (WHO).

On April 21, the BBC reported Nabarro as saying “the coronavirus is not going to go away so we must learn to live with it”.

We have all got to learn to live with this virus, to do our business with this virus in our presence, to have social relations with this virus in our presence and not to be continuously having to be in lock down because of the widespread infections that can occur”, Mr. Nabarro added.

British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson warned a coronavirus vaccine may never arrive and restrictions may have to remain in place for “the long haul” as he set out limited relaxation of the lock down, Independent reported on May 11.

“The UK Government said that some pubs could open from July 4 if they can keep drinkers apart” – Independent also reported.

Meanwhile, in India, Times if India reported on May 9 that the health ministry said “Indians would have to learn to live with coronavirus, indicating there might be no early tapering off of the disease and would require an adjustment to a new normal of social distancing and sanitation that could become part of everyday life for some time to come”.

But, while many countries have closed down, a few countries such as Taiwan have already been living a new normal with the pandemic and have remained open, managing to contain spread of the disease.

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