Health Minister, Dr. Christopher Tufton, has announced that in the coming weeks a draft plan is being developed to manage the COVID-19 outbreak while allowing the country to return to some semblance of normality. The announcement follows on the heels of yesterday’s announcement by the Prime Minister of a broad-based committee to begin the country’s post-COVID-19 economic recovery.

Dr. Tufton made the declaration during today’s meeting of Parliament’s COVID-19 Special Select Committee.

With the world coming to grips with the fact that COVID-19 will change several aspects of life as we know it going forward, governments globally are scrambling to assess and bring into being what will be considered the new normal.

The government of Jamaica is among them.

The country’s Health Minister, Dr. Christopher Tufton, is urging members of the public to understand that COVID-19 will be with the country for a very long time and the public health system is being prepared for this reality.

The nation is now more than a month into the outbreak with community spread predicted to be just on the horizon.

This has already seen the curtailing of large swathes of economic activity, stringent curfew and quarantine measures and the lockdown of an entire parish.

However, the country faces serious economic and social challenges, the longer such stringent measures are kept in place.

With a vaccine for the virus expected no earlier than a year, if one can be produced at all, managing COVID-19 may become a normal routine of everyday life.

Dr. Tufton says a plan to accomplish this is being actively developed.

Other countries such as the United States are being faced with similar challenges as the “great lockdown” as it has been dubbed has already plunged the world into a recession.

Dr. Tufton says while the Finance Minister has outlined the economic aspect of that plan, other sectors of the government will be working towards a comprehensive plan to manage COVID-19 going forward.

He says in that regard Public Health has to remain the central focus.

Meanwhile, Dr. Tufton says of the more than 40 deportees who returned to the island last week all of have tested negative for COVID19 except for the one positive case previously announced.

The question was raised this morning during a sitting of Parliament’s COVID19 Select Committee.

The US government previously gave the assurance that no deportees who test positive for COVID19 would be sent back to their countries of origin.

However, Dr. Tufton says in the case of the deportees all normal protocols are being followed which will guard against any oversight.

Dr. Christopher Tufton, Minister of Health and Wellness. 

Dr. Tufton also says to date five healthcare workers  have tested positive for COVID19.