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Extending weekend lockdowns would have devastating effect, says Chung

Dennis Chung and Dr. Andrew Manning
 
Financial commentator Dennis Chung is not in support of a call from public health experts for the government to extend the weekend lockdowns to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
 
Mr. Chung says additional lockdowns would have a devastating effect on the livelihood of many Jamaicans.
 
Professor Winston Davidson and Dr. Alverston Bailey have suggested that the weekend lockdowns continue until the COVID-19 positivity rate is significantly reduced.
 
But Mr. Chung argues that the repercussions of this would be widescale social issues, especially for poorer Jamaicans.  
 
He argued that the "government cannot afford to feed people as they need to" and would not be able to sustain providing "$10,000 every two or three months" to persons in need. 
 
"So how are you going to tell people that you must stay home, don't have anything to eat, can't feed your children, and at the same time expect them to comply?" he contended. 
 
Mr. Chung believes the government should intensify enforcement activities under the Disaster Risk Management Act. 
 
But he asserted that COVID-19 containment measures that work in other countries may not be effective in Jamaica, so instead of the limited time allotted on a Saturday for free movement, for example, there should be "a longer period for people to do their business so that you don't have the density of persons."
 
He noted reports about how the police were out to enforce lockdown measures over the holiday weekend "but because of the amount of people, they couldn't control it."
 
Mr. Chung was speaking Wednesday on Power 106's Morning Agenda programme.
 
 
Weekend lockdown necessary 
 
However, Medical Association of Jamaica (MAJ) President Dr. Andrew Manning, shares a similar view to Professor Winston Davidson and Dr. Alverston Bailey.
 
He believes "the stark reality" is that extending the weekend lockdowns is "needed" to significantly reduce COVID-19 infections despite the adverse effects on the economy. 
 
Dr. Manning, who also spoke Wednesday on the Morning Agenda, said Jamaica is "at the point now where we don't have enough beds to deal with persons, COVID and non-COVID, who may require medical attention."
 
He agreed with the call for greater enforcement under the Disaster Risk Management Act, noting that the hospital situation has arisen because of persons not adhering to the orders. 
 
 


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