MAJ Calls For Mask Mandate To Be Reimposed

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  With the official declaration that Jamaica is experiencing its fifth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Medical Association of Jamaica (MAJ) is calling for the reimposition of the mask mandate in public spaces.   Dr. Leslie Meade, President-elect of the MAJ, is pushing for urgent action to stop the rapid spread of the virus.   Recalling that the association was concerned about the removal of the mask mandate last month, Dr. Meade argued that the mandate does not impact economic activity so there should be no difficulty in its return.   He explained that Jamaica’s situation is different from other jurisdictions so there is more reason for urgent resumption of the mask requirement.   «Because we are having persons in enclosed places, business places just walking around, it is important that you have that barrier that would help to decrease the transmission and so we need to reinstate the mask mandate,» he asserted.    «We have seen where in populations in Asia, that have a history of various flu seasons, that they routinely would wear masks…and they go about their business because they know that it does decrease the transmission, and so similarly, we have to develop that pattern. And until we are doing that, we need the mandate,» insisted the medical doctor, who was speaking Wednesday on Radio Jamaica News  Beyond The Headlines .    ‘No mandate’    On the other hand, the business community has objected to calls for the reimposition of the mask mandate and pre-travel testing for visitors to the island as the fifth wave of the pandemic drives up cases.   Donovan Wignal, President of the Micro, Small and Medium Sized Enterprise (MSME) Alliance, believes wearing a mask should be a personal responsibility.   Mr. Wignal contended that putting restrictions on visitors will negatively impact the economy.    Instead, he said the focus should be on marketing the COVID-19 vaccination programme which appears to have been significantly scaled down.    Just 25 per cent of Jamaica’s population is vaccinated against COVID-19.