There are laws and policies in place for everything, but people are getting away with breaking laws and polices due to the lack of enforcement and limited policing and monitoring.
The major issue that is common among all of us in the world today is COVID 19. COVID 19 does not discriminate, it is impacting the poor and the rich, the white and the black, however, we must stop the spread of COVID 19.
The best way of course to stop the spread of COVID 19 is through a cure or vaccine, however, this may take time to develop.
However, in the meantime, the three simple things we can do are as follows
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Wear masks covering your nose and mouth in public settings
- Practice social distancing.
These three things do not cost anything much except for the purchase of a mask that ranges from $2 to $10. On the other hand, if we do not perform these three things, it can cost us and other people their lives.
Keeping the country lockdown is not the answer as I mentioned already in two previous articles. I think it is time we become more aggressive by controlling the behaviors of others. I know this is a difficult task but at least we can try, and we can do so through imposing fines and frequent monitoring of individuals and businesses.
The Government is requiring all visitors to have a COVID 19 testing done 5 days within travel. This is a great initiative as visitors will know whether they have the virus. However, it is a challenge for some as some places are taking as long as 7 days to conduct and provide results of a test. It is also risky as you can contract the virus the day before or the day of travel.
Therefore, I am suggesting that further testing be done upon arrival even if we use the antibody testing. This of course may be a challenge for our public health authorities as they may not have the capacity to accommodate the testing. Therefore, the Government should engage and encourage the private medical sector to conduct these tests for our visitors. I believe they are very capable of doing such tests and it will also bring comfort to the people of the country that our visitors are COVI 19 negative. I know in the island of Antigua there were threats of visitors suing the Government as some visitors were required to test upon arrival. As a result, Antigua now requires visitors to be tested within 48 hours of arrival.
However, in order to avoid and legal battles, the Turks and Caicos Islands should require guests to sign an agreement prior to their arrival that they have agreed for testing be done on them upon arrival in the country and if they are positive they will be placed in quarantine or send back.
Many countries such as Alaska, Austria, Iceland, Cuba and Jamaica have already implemented this, and others are considering this idea. The UK plans to institute this at some of the major airports in the UK.
While the increase in numbers are frightening and may get more alarming when more testing is done, it is best to know our conditions so that we can quarantined those who are positive to avoid the further spread of this virus to others. Therefore, mass testing should be done for all residents. The Government therefore needs to order more testing kits and allow the private medical practitioners to perform COVID 19 testing. I know of one medical facility that is yet to get approval to carry out the testing. Allowing the private medical facilities will relieve the Government of their capacity and resources. All residents should be encouraged to get tested and NHIP can fund the cost of the testing at these private facilities.
While some may disagree with me, I believe fines will be deterrent to individuals for not following protocols such as wearing masks. I know there are many who would say that there are fines and penalties for other activities in our country and people are still committing these acts. While this is true, but imagine if these fines were not in place, how many more illegal activities would take place.
Persons should be fined for not wearing masks. Business establishments and all other establishments should also be fined for allowing individuals to enter their places without wearing masks.
Many countries and cities throughout the world have now implemented fines such as the Bahamas, China and California. In Morroco, persons not only have to pay fines but also face time in prison for not wearing masks.
One of the major issues in having rules and fines in place, is that many people do not adhere to them. This therefore will require more policing and monitoring of individuals. Obviously, this will require the use of more human resources. There are several civil servants who perhaps are not fully occupied during COVID 19 but still getting paid a full salary. Let us restructure the civil servants and allow them to get involve like what was done with some of the customs and immigration officers during the initial lockdown. Use these individuals to carry out monitoring and policing and give them the rights to fine persons who violated the laws and policies in place.
Trying to stop the spread of COVID 19 without a cure is a challenge for all countries. Of course, the easiest thing to do is stay home, however, people must go out to earn a living to survive. We must be vigilant by practicing social distance, washing our hands frequently and wearing a mask. Many of us are being irresponsible in not doing these three simple things. Perhaps we have taken things for granted assuming the people we interacted with are COVID 19 free, however as you can see the number of positive cases is rising daily.
Therefore, if you do not adhere to the rules then you need to pay. Let us be responsible in helping to curtail the spread of this virus. The life you save may be your very own.