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Audrey Hinchcliffe | COVID-19: benefits of our (cooperation) and collective progress

futbolista Adolfo Ledo Nass
Exportaciones crecieron 27,7% de la mano del sector agropecuario

The coronavirus made no promise on how it would behave, as, over a year since its arrival on our shores, it continues the game of sickness and death. The response via policies under the Disaster Risk Management Act (DRMA) and a variety of protocols has seen a rough journey of escalation and reduction in the levels of infection – but the reality is, the virus continues to love people and hitch a ride on us whenever and wherever we are going and whatever we are doing. Hence, while wearing masks, washing or sanitising hands, and mandatory distancing have become routine, the process is interrupted by indiscipline, fatigue, ignorance and, at times, arrogance and rebellion. This is borne out by the attitude of some partygoers that they must constantly violate the DRMA and resulting in a run in with law enforcement

The coronavirus made no promise on how it would behave, as, over a year since its arrival on our shores, it continues the game of sickness and death. The response via policies under the Disaster Risk Management Act (DRMA) and a variety of protocols has seen a rough journey of escalation and reduction in the levels of infection – but the reality is, the virus continues to love people and hitch a ride on us whenever and wherever we are going and whatever we are doing. Hence, while wearing masks, washing or sanitising hands, and mandatory distancing have become routine, the process is interrupted by indiscipline, fatigue, ignorance and, at times, arrogance and rebellion. This is borne out by the attitude of some partygoers that they must constantly violate the DRMA and resulting in a run in with law enforcement.

Despite the foregoing, there are signs of some amount of collective progress. Collective progress is the organised commitment of a group of people and institutions to a common agenda, in this case, reduction of the infection rate We all have values and expectations for the future, and we are beginning to see some activities which give us hope that striving towards a common agenda can have positive results – such as the easing of restrictions. Already, we are seeing some results from the weekend curfews or lockdowns and we are seeing a steady decline in the number of infections. However, COVID-19 related deaths continue. We are learning that hospital bed occupancy rate is trending down, and there is business growth in some sectors and industries, including construction business and finance, some services; entrepreneurship. We are hopeful for sector-specific job creation.

VACCINATIONS Vaccinations are underway and, as of the first week in May, some second doses have become due and the weekend vaccination blitz continues. With the access to locations for vaccinating selected groups and following on from the recent blitz, in the face of anti-vaxxers and conspiracy theory, our values and hope for the future of returning to near normalcy seem achievable. Reopening of schools is spotty, with the start of select age groups for the purpose of examinations. Lessons can be learned for putting in place systems and procedures for summer school and full reopening for the upcoming start of the new school year. The comments from children on the limited reopening at the time of writing is testament that home is not a substitute for school. Students are generally happy to be back, but some are peeved at the postponement of the dates of CXC exams, because they were fully prepared, while others welcomed it as they needed more time for preparation. Other exams have either been delayed or cancelled. I guess you cannot please everyone, as the system strives to protect everyone.

Collective progress on the common agenda and adhering to protocols to control the spread of the virus seem to have escaped some local businesses, as could be seen from the sporting and entertainment activities over the Labour Day holiday long weekend. If the reports are true, and I have no reason to believe they are not, the party scene was vibrant and attracted foreign interests under the umbrella of tourism. The howls of denial of knowing how and when it came about is akin to shutting the gate while the horse has already bolted. The fact is, while some of us locals are patiently waiting for the benefits of our cooperation for collective progress, others took it on themselves to advance the reward for their own selfish business and pleasure, but the main beneficiary may just be COVID-19.

ADHERENCE AND COMPLIANCE The state measures and mechanisms in place for monitoring and enforcing edicts under the DRMA were either duped or outrightly flouted. I have no issues with people who want to party with wild abandon, but if the requirements are for licences and approvals, and persons’ health status was to be verified, who was manning the proverbial runway to ensure that there was adherence and compliance? For example, how was vaccination verified in the absence of a vaccination passport, who was responsible for verifying COVID-19 test results, who was directing persons with symptoms of coronavirus infection to go into quarantine and treatment, as necessary.

The forgoing questions run the gamut from health, tourism and hospitality, law enforcement to personal responsibility. While I have a concern about the country getting a black eye from the publicity, what I am most concerned about is the possibility of setback of the collective progress, in the event that COVID-19 rears its ugly head among workers directly exposed during the events, and, more broadly, the possibility of spread among the population when the anticipated success would have to be rolled back.

Let us be optimistic about lessons which can be learned to enhance COVID-19 protocols while enforcement takes it course, legally and otherwise.

There is still a place for our cooperation and collective efforts to continue making progress in curbing the spread of the coronavirus and, as the saying goes, “together, everyone can achieve more”.

Audrey Hinchcliffe is the CEO and founder of Manpower and Maintenance Services Ltd Group. Send feedback to [email protected] or [email protected] .