‘We don’t want to have to decide who lives or who dies’—PM

Prime Minister Andrew Holness speaking at a digital press conference on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness is warning that a major spike in cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) will place Jamaica’s health sector under severe stress, and the Government will have to make some tough decision in terms of treatment and care.

As such, he is emphasising the need for persons to stay home if they are feeling ill, wear protective gear in public places and maintain social distancing, in order to prevent community spread of the virus.

“We don’t want to have to make the decision that other countries have had to make, of who lives and who dies, who gets on a ventilator and who doesn’t, who gets a bed and who doesn’t.

“But if our citizens don’t act responsibly, then that is the burden that would be thrust upon the Government to determine your life, when you can literally determine the outcome of your life, by being responsible,” the Prime Minister said.

He was addressing a digital press conference from Jamaica House on Tuesday (April 14).

Holness said that COVID-19 is a “dreadful disease”, which has taken many lives, and the prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCD) in the society makes the population particularly vulnerable to the worst impacts of the virus.

“Obesity, diabetics, heart conditions, respiratory conditions, hypertension – all of those are prevalent in our society, and so the uncontrolled spread of this disease, in addition to all those health conditions, will place our health system under severe stress,” he noted.