A new notice being circulated by the COVID committee seems to be good news to many people, since the notice seems to be tantamount to doing away with the protocols that were carefully put in place during the COVID pandemic. However, this week we pose the question to our readers – Who is really responsible for protecting you from the COVID virus?
Since 2019 we have been hearing about the COVID virus. A lot of information was disseminated on what it is; how is it spread; and the treatment required when one is infected. The information was well put together that all can understand. In fact, some may say that we were bombarded by too much information. But what came out of the education campaign is that we need to pay attention to hygiene.
That topic was at one time a separate subject on the school curriculum. Those who saw it fit to have it there, in hindsight, we must agree, that they saw the need for it then. There was a time in Grenada’s history that the island was stricken with diseases as a result of poor sanitary conditions. These diseases are listed in the 1947 Handbook of Grenada. Many people died as a result. A good example is Cholera which caused the death of so many people that the Catholic Church had to donate a plot of land in Sauteurs near the church to bury those who succumbed to it. People who grew up in St Paul’s speak about a plot of land in La Borie where nobody goes because it is said that people who died from an infectious disease were buried there.
Then there is Quarantine Point which has become a popular place of entertainment. But at one period in our history that area was set aside for, as the name suggests, placing people in quarantine. There was a hospital there for people infected with new diseases which little was known about by local doctors then. There was even a Sanatorium for people with Tuberculosis. It was unheard of to treat people with infectious diseases in the main-stream General Hospital which in those days was known as the Colony Hospital since Grenada was then a British Colony.
Through the years with the government spearheading a drive to educate people on proper sanitary practices, some of these diseases of old are no longer heard of. There were serious Sanitary Inspectors who made sure that everyone played his or her part. People understood then how improper habits can affect their household, neighbours and lead to an outbreak of an infectious disease in the State. This in itself can be costly since money has to be spent on procuring drugs to treat infected people. Some of us can still remember the lengths the people of old went to keep their homes clean. We remember how the wooden floors were scrubbed white with bits of coconut shell and the pots and pans were scrubbed clean with sand. These practices should teach us the importance we must play in keeping away infectious diseases. But unfortunately, Hygiene is no longer taught in schools and so those practices of old are being scorned and laughed at.
Here we must applaud Carriacou for always paying respect to their ancestors “on whose shoulders they stand.” Through the years they have managed to preserve the practice of libation which is seen as a sacred offering to those who came before. A lot of us boast that we are from African descent; so how come we are not honouring our ancestors which is a big part in the African culture? Our ancestors, incidentally, were not savages as we were taught in the colonial period. They came from the developed side of the world. But unfortunately, as some of them were sold into slavery with stringent rules, they were unable to live normal lives. They were educated enough to understand the word abuse and history would show that emancipation came as a result of their constant struggle against slavery. Many of them preferred to die instead of being condemned to that way of life which today some countries are ashamed of condoning.
Focusing on the notice from the Ministry of Health, we see that as of April 04, no COVID testing is required; no vaccination required; no Health Declaration form required and quarantine on arrival is no longer required. So people are allowed to come and go freely to our shores. We are warning people to avoid letting their guards down. The onus is on all of us to protect ourselves from the virus which, incidentally, is still around. We have heard of people coming down with a “cold” which is believed by medical professionals to be caused by a strain of the COVID virus.
Let us take responsibility for our health status and do the right things to protect ourselves even while they are no longer a requirement.