AS THE GLOBAL COVID-19 pandemic shows signs of improvement in some countries, most businesses have slowly started to return to normal operations. However, this is not true for all sectors of the economy as the crisis induced by the pandemic has resulted in permanent closures of businesses across the globe and still has some sectors crippled to date.
It is important for us to recognise that we are a long way from overcoming the pandemic. If we are to allow the virus to run its course and wait on natural herd immunity, we may have to wait for a decade or more -who knows. However, thanks to the advances in science and technology, we have vaccines that are available to us to allow us to get over the pandemic at a faster rate and to return to some level of normalcy.
Small Island Developing States like ours that are mainly dependent on a single source as the significant economic earner will experience significant economic challenges if we do not get back to work.
More so, we are dependent on tourism, one of the sectors that is hard hit by the pandemic. Therefore, we must ensure that we find ways of operating while ensuring that exposure and transmission of the virus is minimised.
It is time for us to consider how do we open up and get business started.
We must recognise that the pandemic will be around for a while and so we must strategize on how best we can operate in the COVID-19 era.
There are few things that we can do: 1. Creating a safe operating environment: Social distancing and other social responsibilities such as promoting the practice of proper, preventative hygiene, providing personal protective equipment, monitoring the health and well-being of employees etc. can help to minimise transmission. Of course, we are not going to get to zero transmission, but we can minimise as much as possible to levels that can be controlled.
2. Promote vaccination: Efforts to promote vaccine uptake should focus on vaccine acceptance instead of hesitancy.
All efforts should be taken to dispel misinformation about the vaccines. Trust in the vaccines is vital and is critically dependant on the ability of governments to communicate the benefits of vaccination, and to deliver the vaccines safely and effectively. People must see and feel the benefit of being vaccinated.
3. Ensure other public health measures are adhered to: While there is a strong focus on getting people vaccinated, vaccines alone are not sufficient. Other public health measures must remain and must be enforced. For example, we need to make wearing of mask a normal part of being around other people. We also need to regularly and thoroughly clean hands and surfaces to eliminate germs.
Remember getting over this pandemic depends on all of us.