PNP's spokesman on Health, M.P. Dr. Morais Guy, says he is deeply concerned that a portion of the Alorica workforce, which was told to report to the company’s facility for testing, were turned away without the test being administered because the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW) did not have sufficient sampling kits present.
He said what he finds most disturbing about Friday’s botched testing exercise was that many of the workers braved the odds, traveled many miles in public transportation at risk to themselves and the general public, only to be told that they would have to return on another day for the test to be administered.
Dr Guy said the MOHW showed no concern regarding the potential of contamination and the spread by the workers as they traveled in public transportation, possibly being in contact with many other persons from all walks of life, and to be told to return on that journey without being tested.
The PNP health spokesman said the MOHW staff should have anticipated the number of workers involved in the testing and should have been prepared with the adequate amount of kits to conduct a fulsome testing exercise.
He said, considering the present circumstances with the possible spread of the virus, this is totally unacceptable. Better coordination should have been done on the part of the Ministry.
Dr Guy is calling on the Government and Alorica to act now to minimise the possibility of further exposure of the public by taking the extraordinary step of transporting the suspected exposure cases by private treaty to and from the Alorica facility designated for testing.
Dr Guy said, “We live in an age where communication is much easier and having issued the notice for the workers to present themselves for testing, the least the Ministry could have done was to make the adequate preparations by ensuring that the required number of kits was available.”
He said further, “at the point when the sampling kits were running low, the matter could have been escalated to replenish the supply to avoid turning the workers away.”
He said the images of the workers at the gate of the facility appealing for help and expressing their willingness to be tested to no avail, is a source of sadness because no one wants to be affected by this deadly virus.
The Shadow Minister said the whole affair is distasteful and gives the impression that the Government is not taking the testing and contact tracing seriously, and is seemingly haphazard and reactive in its attitude.
Assuming that some of these workers are positive for COVID-19, how many would have passed this disease unwittingly to their fellow travellers who would next transmit the virus to their friends and families?
Dr Guy warns that this is not the time to be tinkering with the lives of our Jamaican citizens, and he is, therefore, calling upon the Government to act in a responsible and well thought out manner as we move through this crisis.
There is enough body of knowledge within our own Jamaican scientific community to plan and execute operations such as this without courting disaster, the Shadow Minister said.
The Opposition Shadow Minister is again calling upon the Government to involve all those professionals in their respective fields to join hands to enable a broader coalition in the fight against this dreaded disease.
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