Chief Health Inspector links the dropping of the mask mandate to the rise in COVID-19 cases

Chief Health Inspector Sharon Martin attributes the recent increase in COVID-19 cases to persons lowering their guard because mandatory mask-wearing has been dropped.

The Cabinet made the wearing of face masks optional, effective Wednesday, March 16, 2022.

At the time, however, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) said that covering one’s face outdoors wherever there is likely to be a crowd is “dutifully encouraged.”

But when residents are reminded that the virus is still around, and it would be safer to continue wearing their masks, Martin says they object – pointing out that the Government has repealed the mask mandate.

The CMO had recommended that face masks be worn by persons working indoors and in churches, civic groups, schools, bars and clubs, and wherever they must interact with strangers.

Meanwhile, Martin says the Central Board of Health (CBH) is continuing its education programmes to ensure that schools are abiding by the protocols that protect the vulnerable. 

However, she says, the onus is on the school’s faculty and principal to ensure that things are in place to protect students.

A number of fetes and other public activities have been held over the past several weeks, and many residents believe these have contributed to the increase in COVID-19 infections, since video footage shows patrons clustered together and unmasked.

Last week, Health Minister Molwyn Joseph told the Cabinet the spike in infections came from the annual Labour Day celebrations.