Due to the fifth wave of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Jamaican Government will be reintroducing mandatory mask wearing in public spaces. some people have different opinions about this change. Prime Minister Andrew Holness made the announcement on Friday 20 May 2022 at the handing over of two housing units under the New Social Housing Programme (NSHP) in St James. “It is going to be a requirement shortly for all of our citizens to return to wearing their masks,” said Holness. “Thankfully, we are not seeing the infections and the illness translating, so far, into serious hospitalisations. We don’t want to go back to that situation [and] so, again, I am urging all Jamaicans to act responsibly,” he added.
But, Tom Peters (not his real name), a university student, believes that mask wearing should not have been dismissed because the spreading of the COVID-19 virus had never disappeared. “The government should have really not told us that we had the option to wear masks or not because people were still getting and dying from the virus, it made no sense and now it has come down to us wearing it again,” he said.
Another tertiary student, Brianna Lee (not her real name) believes that the resumption of mask wearing will cause a reduction in COVID cases. “People were tired of the restrictions, mask wearing and social distancing, but the masks really helped the virus from spreading easily so I think we will see more control of the spreading of the virus,” she said.
Receiving the COVID-19 vaccines is also available to control the spreading of the virus. “If you haven’t yet gotten your vaccine, vaccines sites are still open, and vaccination is ongoing. Please get vaccinated,” said Holness.
But some people still fear the vaccines for reasons such as allergic reactions. According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) severe allergic reaction can cause difficulty breathing or wheezing, a drop in blood pressure, swelling of the tongue or throat, or a generalized rash. Prime Minister Holness reminded the public to observe the COVID protocols. “Wear your masks, particularly if you are indoors, and maintain social distance. Sanitisation of the hands is very important and has been proven to slow transmission. If you are ill, particularly with any form of respiratory illness, you would want to try and take stock, get tested, stay at home, and isolate a little bit until you know exactly what the situation is, so that you don’t pass it on to others,” he added.