Some small business operators and commuters in the downtown Kingston area say they are not frightened by the news that the monkeypox virus is in Jamaica.
However, they say they are hoping that the Government will not look to impose similar containment measures that have been used to contain the spread of COVID-19. During an emergency press conference at the Health and Wellness Ministry yesterday, Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton said he does not foresee such a response from the Government.
Morris Sadler, a shoe vendor operating in Luke Lane, noted that “COVID is still here” and Jamaicans were dealing with it as best as they can.
“When yuh think about how threatening it was and the kind of impact it have so far pon the country in terms of no-movement lockdowns and so, we cyah tek on another one like that,” Sadler said. “Furthermore, the virus [monkeypox] no deadly like the COVID so mi no frighten like when mi hear bout the COVID. Wi just affi live with this like how wi a live with COVID now.”
While stating that every virus should be treated with caution, bus driver Patrick Brown said the country cannot afford another economic setback following the two-year drought caused by COVID-19.
“As you can see, our business relies on public movement so like how this ‘monkey business’ no so threatening, mi glad fi hear say di Government nah think fi lock down like COVID time. Mi did a listen fi hear how dem plan fi treat this matter because honestly, the country cannot have another weekend of no movement,” he said. Commuter Simone Clunis said she will be adjusting their daily travel.
“We have to work with and travel amongst people almost daily and given what is being said about this monkeypox virus, I will take extra caution the same way I changed my travel routine when COVID was first announced,” Clunis said.
Tufton announced that the first person to test positive for monkeypox visited a health facility on July 5, five days after he arrived on the island from the UK. Tufton also shared that the patient has been isolated and contact tracing has already been activated to contain spread.