Jamaica decries having ‘too many’ reports about discrimination

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Wellness Dunstan Bryan said the ministry is receiving too many reports of discrimination against patients or people suspected of having the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

“We are getting too many reports of discriminatory behaviour towards persons who are presumed or suspected of being infected by COVID,” he lamented during a press briefing in Kingston this afternoon, March 18.

Bryan noted that the discrimination has become problematic, especially now that the authorities are preparing to release people back into the society after they have been treated or tested.

“It is becoming problematic in that people are denying service and we have to intervene because, now that we have had a good nearly two weeks of this operation, we are going to start the process now of what you call discharging patients… We have to integrate persons into communities; they have to begin to normalize their lives after they leave hospitals.”

Bryan continued: “If we generate this amount of discriminatory activity, it can cause severe outcomes that we do not want to occur within our society. And so we have to be cautious around how we manage the information and how we create any sort of anxiety within the public.”

Bryan urged residents to understand that COVID-19 is not a death sentence. “The recovery rate for COVID internationally is moving in the right direction… We have to send that message out; it is not a death sentence,” he further declared.

Bryan, in the meantime, disclosed that 28 people are now in isolation in hospitals.

He added that 25 persons are in Government facilities for quarantine, and 91 are in home quarantine – excluding people in community quarantine at 7 and 8 Miles in Bull Bay.

The permanent secretary also noted that 458 people entered the island since January 31 from a country of interest regarding COVID-19.


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