Associate Professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Technology, Dr Alverston Bailey, believes all persons who entered the island after March 18 should be found, tested and placed in state quarantine to help stem the spread of COVID-19 locally.
The government has been trying to get these persons to contact the health ministry to report on their health status and self-quarantine at home.
Dr. Bailey wants the government to go further, however, and require that they be tested and quarantined in state facilities, then tested again after 14 days, “in order to determine if they are in fact carriers of the virus,” bearing in mind the “compelling evidence around the world that asymptomatic persons can in fact spread the virus.”
Dr. Bailey, speaking Monday on Radio Jamaica’s Beyond the Headlines, made clear that he did not support the concept of self-quarantine, arguing that, “as a rule, human beings are difficult.”
“I’m convinced that, despite all the bad news coming from overseas, a large percentage of Jamaicans still do not really believe that COVID-19 is a clear and present danger,” he declared.
Dr. Bailey said the government should have been monitoring all persons who came into the island recently, starting with the flight on which the first patient who tested positive for COVID-19 arrived.
The health ministry belatedly launched an island-wide search for more than 4,000 people who arrived in Jamaica after March 18 and have not reported to the authorities.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness has warned that persons who have not reported will be placed in state quarantine and charged with a criminal offence.