NOT COOL! Health Ministry urges end to stigma around COVID-19

Health Minister Christopher Tufton

The Ministry of Health and Wellness is cautioning Jamaicans against using the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis as a way to practice discrimination and social exclusion.

The Ministry, in a statement on Saturday, said it has come to its attention that a number of Jamaicans have been the victims of physical violence or have otherwise been socially excluded on the suspicion that they may have the coronavirus disease.

“The Ministry understands the fear that many people are experiencing, given the seriousness of the disease. However, Jamaicans must not allow fear to override reason. The truth is that with COVID-19, where one is vulnerable, all are vulnerable. It means, therefore, that we must do our best to take care of each other. If we do that, we can beat this disease, saving more lives than we lose,” the statement quoted Minister Dr Christopher Tufton.

The ministry noted that COVID-19 is “not a death sentence”, while noting that the majority of persons who become infected will experience only mild symptoms and recover. The ministry notes that while elderly persons have been shown to be especially vulnerable to the disease, anyone can be infected.