From Mandatory Quarantine to Self-Isolation

My wife and I, each year, normally take a long vacation to the Southern Hemisphere during its summer months. However, this year we thought we would change and visit...

My wife and I, each year, normally take a long vacation to the Southern Hemisphere during its summer months. However, this year we thought we would change and visit southern Europe, specifically Italy and Portugal, going through and spending some time in the United Kingdom. The planning started in October 2019 and we were expected to visit these countries starting March 8, just ahead of spring.

The first indication that things would go terribly wrong was when it was announced in early February that Italy had its first case of the coronavirus, which was followed very quickly by the Government of Jamaica placing Italians on its travel restriction. By late February the virus was widespread in that region so we decided to continue our journey only to the UK and cancel both legs to Italy and Portugal.

Another exploding grenade was thrown into our many months of careful planning when, being in the UK, we were informed that both the American and Jamaican governments were about to place restrictions on travels from the UK to either countries. This single act would, in our opinion, severely reduce the number of flights to the USA and Jamaica so we had to make a decision as to where we wanted to be during the anticipated lockdown.

The option we had at that juncture was to remain the UK and ride out the storm or return to Jamaica. Our decision to return to Jamaica was made very easy when the Boris Johnson Government introduced its Herd Immunity concept that few understood and which was controversial.

After comparing the UK’s complex message of Herd Immunity to the simple but effective message coming from the Jamaican Prime Minister and Minister of Health we decided to return home.

Fortunately, we were able to get on one of the last flights from Gatwick to Kingston.

On arriving on the BA flight from Gatwick we were met by public health nurses who were simply brilliant in their discharge of duties. They processed us in record time and gave us clear written instructions about the fact that we were being placed in mandatory quarantine for 14 days, during which time they would check on our progress and compliance and any breach of the quarantine rules would leave us open to penalties of a fine or imprisonment. We were required to take and record our body temperature twice daily, which we have been doing diligently.

Though we were advised, we were nevertheless surprised to receive a call from the public health nurse halfway through our quarantine period checking on our progress and requiring us to state our temperature reading for the last two days — very reassuring.

Compare this stringent policy to the one in the UK where people coming from Italy and Spain, the two countries in Europe being ravaged by the coronavirus, being allowed to enter the UK unchecked with no instructions to enter quarantine or self-isolate!

Having spent 13 days in mandatory quarantine we looked forward to Monday, March 30 when we completed our period. However, we have decided to voluntarily enter self-isolation thereby having minimal contact with the general public until we can get tested to see whether or not we have had the virus and hence immune to further dangers.

The period of mandatory quarantine has been very enjoyable and stress free which, in part, is due to friends and family leaving groceries on the back seat of our car and us collecting after they have left. We have also had ample time to reflect on how the pandemic is being treated in both the UK and Jamaica and have concluded that we are lucky to be able to take refuge in Jamaica, with its 3 million people which is roughly 5% of the UK population, with only 47 cases and 3 deaths up to Thursday, April 2, compared to the UK’s 33,718 cases and 2,921 deaths.

I think the disproportionate numbers of cases and deaths when compared to Jamaica is as a direct result of initial denials and consequent delays in implementing well-accepted policies.

Think what might have been the worldwide outcome if all countries had decided to adopt the same approach to tackle this scourge?

Leadership styles in the western democratic world, in our opinion, are being exposed by coronavirus as so many governments are trying to reinvent the wheel thereby wasting valuable time only to have to revert to the China-proved method of severe restriction of movements. It seems to me that many governments are confused with the thought that democracy is such that difficult decisions should be taken only after getting buy-in from the public when the very public is asking its leadership to communicate effective policies thereby minimising their fears of the unknown.

Leadership in these times require bold and timely decisions. We will be able to see at the end of the first wave of the virus how many persons have died in each country and thus be able to opine whether an extra few days of freedom from having restricted movement or stoking the financial system is worth the loss of lives and loved ones.

The period of mandatory quarantine has also allowed us to reflect on the way forward and what life will be like once we have the coronavirus under control, what will Jamaica be like 5 to 10 years hence.

Many years ago staff members at a particular institution were given the option to work from home, it was rejected by the staff primarily from fear of the unknown of working from home and the impact it would have on their reduced socialization and possible reduced productivity. The fear of isolation was heightened more for the single people than a person in a family unit.

Being forced to self-isolate and work from home as a result of the virus, many have come to realise that it’s desirable, especially for those with young families as it allows much flexibility.

Based on the various articles it appears that a huge positive of working from home is the increase in productivity. It appears that from studies it is found many hours are wasted in the office environment from attending non-productive meetings, chit chat around the office, coffee breaks, etc. One article suggests that a concentrated four hours of work at home may be equivalent to eight hours in the office.

It’s expected that many employers will now continue with the option of employees working from home, especially where productivity has not been affected in a meaningful way.

The implication of this is that the demand for office space to accommodate all employees at once will be a thing of the past. The boom in commercial construction for the BPO sector may also be influenced as there is no reason why people should travel miles each day to a physical location to execute a task that can be done from home with adequate broadband.

We should see a complete revolution in how people work and the utilisation of office space going forward, leading to a reduction in the supply until the dynamics in the market place finds its equilibrium.

Interestingly we are observing that banks and other financial institutions are curtailing their opening hours as a result of the coronavirus thereby pushing customers to use other available electronic forms to conduct business. Like the revolution we will be seeing in the utilisation of office space I would expect that customers will get used to a cashless system and ATMs to conduct business which should lead to further consolidation in branches and manpower requirements. Reverting to the long snake-like lines is not an option.

What the coronavirus has been able to do in a few months in changing our behavioral pattern is simply beyond our imagination. These changes would have taken a decade or two under normal circumstances.

The massive infrastructure works undertaken in Kingston to move the volume of traffic during peak hours may prove adequate for some time to come. All we need now is a good public transportation system for schoolchildren or move schools closer to residential areas.

I am hoping that the Government sees that changes can be obtained and that Jamaicans can be compliant when the message and outcome are clear.

The Government has a number of tools, including fiscal policies, that it can use to steer the country forward, but has not used for one reason or another. With the recent experience of significant compliance by our people, probably a few can be rolled out including reducing our dependence on private vehicles and more towards public transportation, location of BPO centres and education and health facilities being in the communities we live.

I’m looking forward to seeing a new Jamaica emerge as the coronavirus has literally given us a near clean slate to craft and implement new structures to influence our lives. We should not let this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity go to waste.

My wife and I, each year, normally take a long vacation to the Southern Hemisphere during its summer months. However, this year we thought we would change and visit southern Europe, specifically Italy and Portugal, going through and spending some time in the United Kingdom. The planning started in October 2019 and we were expected to visit these countries starting March 8, just ahead of spring.

The first indication that things would go terribly wrong was when it was announced in early February that Italy had its first case of the coronavirus, which was followed very quickly by the Government of Jamaica placing Italians on its travel restriction. By late February the virus was widespread in that region so we decided to continue our journey only to the UK and cancel both legs to Italy and Portugal.

Another exploding grenade was thrown into our many months of careful planning when, being in the UK, we were informed that both the American and Jamaican governments were about to place restrictions on travels from the UK to either countries. This single act would, in our opinion, severely reduce the number of flights to the USA and Jamaica so we had to make a decision as to where we wanted to be during the anticipated lockdown.

The option we had at that juncture was to remain the UK and ride out the storm or return to Jamaica. Our decision to return to Jamaica was made very easy when the Boris Johnson Government introduced its Herd Immunity concept that few understood and which was controversial.

After comparing the UK’s complex message of Herd Immunity to the simple but effective message coming from the Jamaican Prime Minister and Minister of Health we decided to return home.

Fortunately, we were able to get on one of the last flights from Gatwick to Kingston.

On arriving on the BA flight from Gatwick we were met by public health nurses who were simply brilliant in their discharge of duties. They processed us in record time and gave us clear written instructions about the fact that we were being placed in mandatory quarantine for 14 days, during which time they would check on our progress and compliance and any breach of the quarantine rules would leave us open to penalties of a fine or imprisonment. We were required to take and record our body temperature twice daily, which we have been doing diligently.

Though we were advised, we were nevertheless surprised to receive a call from the public health nurse halfway through our quarantine period checking on our progress and requiring us to state our temperature reading for the last two days — very reassuring.

Compare this stringent policy to the one in the UK where people coming from Italy and Spain, the two countries in Europe being ravaged by the coronavirus, being allowed to enter the UK unchecked with no instructions to enter quarantine or self-isolate!

Having spent 13 days in mandatory quarantine we looked forward to Monday, March 30 when we completed our period. However, we have decided to voluntarily enter self-isolation thereby having minimal contact with the general public until we can get tested to see whether or not we have had the virus and hence immune to further dangers.

The period of mandatory quarantine has been very enjoyable and stress free which, in part, is due to friends and family leaving groceries on the back seat of our car and us collecting after they have left. We have also had ample time to reflect on how the pandemic is being treated in both the UK and Jamaica and have concluded that we are lucky to be able to take refuge in Jamaica, with its 3 million people which is roughly 5% of the UK population, with only 47 cases and 3 deaths up to Thursday, April 2, compared to the UK’s 33,718 cases and 2,921 deaths.

I think the disproportionate numbers of cases and deaths when compared to Jamaica is as a direct result of initial denials and consequent delays in implementing well-accepted policies.

Think what might have been the worldwide outcome if all countries had decided to adopt the same approach to tackle this scourge?

Leadership styles in the western democratic world, in our opinion, are being exposed by coronavirus as so many governments are trying to reinvent the wheel thereby wasting valuable time only to have to revert to the China-proved method of severe restriction of movements. It seems to me that many governments are confused with the thought that democracy is such that difficult decisions should be taken only after getting buy-in from the public when the very public is asking its leadership to communicate effective policies thereby minimising their fears of the unknown.

Leadership in these times require bold and timely decisions. We will be able to see at the end of the first wave of the virus how many persons have died in each country and thus be able to opine whether an extra few days of freedom from having restricted movement or stoking the financial system is worth the loss of lives and loved ones.

The period of mandatory quarantine has also allowed us to reflect on the way forward and what life will be like once we have the coronavirus under control, what will Jamaica be like 5 to 10 years hence.

Many years ago staff members at a particular institution were given the option to work from home, it was rejected by the staff primarily from fear of the unknown of working from home and the impact it would have on their reduced socialization and possible reduced productivity. The fear of isolation was heightened more for the single people than a person in a family unit.

Being forced to self-isolate and work from home as a result of the virus, many have come to realise that it’s desirable, especially for those with young families as it allows much flexibility.

Based on the various articles it appears that a huge positive of working from home is the increase in productivity. It appears that from studies it is found many hours are wasted in the office environment from attending non-productive meetings, chit chat around the office, coffee breaks, etc. One article suggests that a concentrated four hours of work at home may be equivalent to eight hours in the office.

It’s expected that many employers will now continue with the option of employees working from home, especially where productivity has not been affected in a meaningful way.

The implication of this is that the demand for office space to accommodate all employees at once will be a thing of the past. The boom in commercial construction for the BPO sector may also be influenced as there is no reason why people should travel miles each day to a physical location to execute a task that can be done from home with adequate broadband.

We should see a complete revolution in how people work and the utilisation of office space going forward, leading to a reduction in the supply until the dynamics in the market place finds its equilibrium.

Interestingly we are observing that banks and other financial institutions are curtailing their opening hours as a result of the coronavirus thereby pushing customers to use other available electronic forms to conduct business. Like the revolution we will be seeing in the utilisation of office space I would expect that customers will get used to a cashless system and ATMs to conduct business which should lead to further consolidation in branches and manpower requirements. Reverting to the long snake-like lines is not an option.

What the coronavirus has been able to do in a few months in changing our behavioral pattern is simply beyond our imagination. These changes would have taken a decade or two under normal circumstances.

The massive infrastructure works undertaken in Kingston to move the volume of traffic during peak hours may prove adequate for some time to come. All we need now is a good public transportation system for schoolchildren or move schools closer to residential areas.

I am hoping that the Government sees that changes can be obtained and that Jamaicans can be compliant when the message and outcome are clear.

The Government has a number of tools, including fiscal policies, that it can use to steer the country forward, but has not used for one reason or another. With the recent experience of significant compliance by our people, probably a few can be rolled out including reducing our dependence on private vehicles and more towards public transportation, location of BPO centres and education and health facilities being in the communities we live.

I’m looking forward to seeing a new Jamaica emerge as the coronavirus has literally given us a near clean slate to craft and implement new structures to influence our lives. We should not let this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity go to waste.

My wife and I, each year, normally take a long vacation to the Southern Hemisphere during its summer months however this year we thought we would change and visit Southern Europe specifically Italy and Portugal going through and spending some time in the United Kingdom. The planning started in October 2019 and we were expected to visit these countries starting 8th March just ahead of spring.

The first indication that things would go terribly wrong was when it was announced in early February that Italy had its first case of the Coronavirus which was followed very quickly by the Government of Jamaica placing Italians on its travel restriction. By late February the virus was widespread in that region so we decided to continue our journey only to the UK and cancel both legs to Italy and Portugal.

Another exploding grenade was thrown into our many months of careful planning when, being in the UK, we were informed that both the American and Jamaican governments were about to place restrictions on travels from the UK to either countries. This single act would, in our opinion, severely reduce the number of flights to the USA and Jamaica so we had to make a decision as to where we wanted to be during the anticipated lockdown.

The option we had at that juncture was to remain the UK and ride out the storm or return to Jamaica.  Our decision to return to Jamaica was made very easy when the Boris Johnson Government introduced its  Herd Immunity concept that few understood and which was controversial.  After comparing the UK’s complex  message of Herd Immunity to the simple but effective message coming from the Jamaican Prime Minister and Minister of Health we decided to return to home.

Fortunately, we were able to get on one of the last flights from Gatwick to Kingston.

On arriving on the BA flight from Gatwick we were met by Public Health Nurses who were simply brilliant in their discharge of duties. They processed us in record time and gave us clear written instructions about  the fact that we were being placed in Mandatory Quarantine for 14 days during which time they would check on our progress and compliance and any breach of the quarantine rules would leave us open to penalties of a fine or imprisonment. We were required to take and record our body temperature twice daily which we have been doing diligently.

Though we were advised we were nevertheless surprised to receive a call from the Public Health Nurse halfway through our quarantine period checking on our progress and requiring us to state our temperature reading for the last 2 days, very reassuring.

Compare this stringent policy to the one in the UK where persons coming from Italy and Spain, the 2 countries in Europe being ravaged by the Coronavirus, being allowed to enter the UK unchecked with no instructions to enter quarantine or self-isolate!

Having spent the last 13 days in Mandatory Quarantine we are looking forward to Monday 30th March when we will have completed our period however we have decided to voluntarily enter self Isolation thereby having minimal contact with the general public until we can get tested to see whether or not we have had the virus and hence immune to further dangers.

The period of Mandatory Quarantine has been very enjoyable and stress free which, in part, is due to friends and family leaving groceries on the back seat of our car and us collecting after they have left. We have also had ample time to reflect on how the pandemic is being treated in both the UK and Jamaica and have concluded that we are lucky to be able to take refuge in Jamaica, with its 3m persons which is roughly 5% of the UK population, with only 30 cases and 1 death compared to the UK’s 20,000 cases and 1,200 death at the time of writing this article.

I think the disproportionate numbers of cases and deaths when compared to Jamaica is as a direct result of initial denials and consequent delays in implementing well accepted policies.

Think what might have been the worldwide outcome if all countries had decided to adopt the same approach to tackle this scourge?

Leadership styles in the western democratic world, in our opinion, is being exposed by Coronavirus as so many governments are trying to reinvent the wheel thereby wasting valuable time only to have to revert to the China proved method of severe restriction of movements. It seems to me that many governments are confused with the thought that democracy is such that difficult decisions should be taken only after getting buy in from the public when the very public is asking its leadership to communicate effective policies thereby minimising their fears of the unknown.

Leadership in these times require bold and timely decisions. We will be able to see at the end of the first wave of the virus how many persons have died in each country and thus be able to opine whether an extra few days of freedom from having restricted movement or stoking the financial system is worth the loss of  lives and love ones.

The period of mandatory quarantine has also allowed us to reflect on the way forward and what life will be like once we have the Coronavirus under control, what will Jamaica be like 5 to 10 years hence?

Many years ago staff members at a particular institution were given the option to work from home, it was rejected by the staff primarily from fear of the unknown of working from home and the impact it would have on their reduced socialization and possible reduced productivity. The fear of isolation was heightened more for the single persons than a person in a family unit.

Being forced to self-isolate and work from home as a result of the virus many have come to realise that its desirable especially for those with young families as it allows much flexibility.

Based on the various articles it appears that a huge positive of working from home is the increase in productivity, it appears that from studies it is found many hours are wasted in the office environment from attending non productive meetings, chit chat around the office, coffee breaks etc. One article suggests that a concentrated 4 hrs. of work at home may be equivalent to 8 hrs. in the office.

It’s expected that many employers will now continue with the option of employees working from home especially where productivity has not been affected in a meaningful way.

The implication of this is that the demand for office space to accommodate all employees at once will be a thing of the past. The boom in commercial construction for the BPO sector may also be influenced as there is no reason why persons should travel miles each day to a physical location to execute a task that can be done from home with adequate broadband.

We should see a complete revolution in how persons work and the utilization of office space going forward leading to a reduction in the supply until the dynamics in the market place finds its equilibrium.

Interestingly we are observing that banks and other financial institutions are curtailing their opening hours as a result of the Coronavirus thereby pushing customers to use other available electronic forms to conduct business. Like the revolution we will be seeing in the utilization of office space I would expect that customers will get used to using non cash and ATM’s to conduct business which should lead to further consolidation in branches and manpower requirements, reverting to the long snake like lines is not an option.

What the Coronavirus has been able to do in a few months in changing our behavioral pattern is simply beyond our imagination, these changes would have taken a decade or two under normal circumstances.

The massive infrastructure works undertaken in Kingston to move the volume of traffic during peak hours may prove adequate for sometime to come.  All we need now is a good public transportation system for school children or move schools closer to residential areas.

Hoping that the Government sees that changes can be obtained and that Jamaicans can be compliant when the message and outcome are clear.

The government has a number of tools including fiscal policies that they can use to steer the country forward but have not used for one reason or another. With the recent experience of significant compliance by our people probably a few can be rolled out including fiscal policies to reduce our dependence on private vehicles and more towards public transportation, location of BPO centers and education and health facilities being in the communities we live.

Looking forward to seeing a new Jamaica emerge as the Coronavirus has literally given us a near clean slate to craft and implement new structures to influence our lives. We should not let this once in a lifetime opportunity go to waste.

.

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