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JM | May 18, 2022

Audrey Hinchcliffe | COVID-19 Conversation: Why I am back!

/ Our Today

Audrey Hinchcliffe, CEO and founder of Manpower and Maintenance Services Ltd (MMS) Group. (Photo: Contributed)

If only I could voice my thanks to you for bringing me back, this is what I would say.

“You set me on a path to leave you alone, which I gladly accepted. So, overtime my positivity rate went from a high to a reasonable low level. Jamaica was the envy of other countries. Our disciplined protocols kept me a bay.

“So, you celebrated my exit, or so you thought with activities which caused me to pause and recognised that you were enjoying my company after all. Or why then, with wild abandon, you embarked on all the activities which you know I would hitch a ride on you humans, my vehicle of choice; so, I am back.”

At the date of writing (Monday, May 9, 2022) the report states “166 new COVID cases in Jamaica and Sunday May 8th, following the report that on Saturday, May7th the record was 227 new cases”.


The parish analytics shows Kingston and St Andrew as the leader, followed by St Catherine then St James. Ever wonder why? Population, amenities and parties are bed fellows. So, the COVID thanks continues.

“When I was rampaging among you. You devised protocols to restrict my movements and slow down my infection rate. I took it on the chin and thought it best to leave you alone, hence at the start of the new year I was barely present with daily infection cases in the 20s and below and positivity rate at times dipping below 2%.”

So, “good riddance; COVID stop keep” among other sayings depicting that I was no more or so you thought with the insult to wearing mask; mingle at will, the new normal is here. Did we see what was happening outside our borders – in the diaspora? COVID infection rapidly resurging in territories where visitors, tourist, trade partners and business seekers come from.

What is ironic is, in this country with low positivity rate, you dare not depart without a negative test result. Yet we commit to those entering from countries where positivity rates are soaring up over 50 per cent, we say “to hell with test,” come at will. Big mistake.

A vaccination blitz exercise at the National Arena, in Kingtson, Jamaica. (File Photo: JIS)

At the same time, we abandon public education, pale promotion of vaccines and the stripping away of all restrictions. The path for my return is as smooth as silk, so here I am. Health workers who thought they had a breather, think again, if you thought you were going to focus on delayed treatments – surgeries and chronic diseases, think again. I am coming back for those hospital beds, while health workers, notably nurses, are fleeing, supplies under strain, well-thinking professionals bawling out warnings and health service managers left holding the bag.

“There is no good outcome – I am back, pity the poor sufferers from the new variant.”


All is not lost as hopefully lessons learned will prepare us for the next pandemic or, at least, treating and living with endemic infections.

Our coping skills have been tried and tested. We have taken the hits on business, education, restriction in movements, entertainment, isolation and, yes, the realisation that mental health matters. We now have the experience on which to draw to prepare a roadmap or blueprint for the future, if not already done.

Health is now in the driver’s seat. The call for resources must be heard and responded to positively. Facilities, human resource, goods and supplies, treatment regimen, appropriate technology must come together in a cohesive plan for management and execution of the health services. This is a case for public and private partnerships. Health is an emotional issue, so the hope is it will propel the partners into action, not only for COVID response, but for the health of the nation in the long run.

  • Audrey Hinchcliffe is CEO and founder of Manpower and Maintenance Services Ltd Group.


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