There was rejoicing in several sectors of society yesterday with the announcement by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley that the current State of Emergency (SoE) implemented to help curb COVID-19’s spread within the population is to be lifted on Wednesday, weeks earlier than scheduled.

No doubt, the business and manufacturing sectors were most relieved since it will mean they can return to full operations with staff able to return to duties with no forced time restrictions.

Of course, the Prime Minister’s promise that there will be no further shutdowns of the economy was perhaps the best news for some. Indeed, in giving some examples of his recent travel to the United Kingdom, the Prime Minister intimated that the best way forward is to learn to live with the virus because it is here to stay; noting too that to shut down one aspect of the lifeblood of the economy only shoots the country in its foot.

The Prime Minister is correct in his assertion but there are good reasons for this too.

Every country that has attempted lockdowns as a means of staving off the spread of the virus has had to alter them because scientists have so far been unable to determine the exact behaviour patterns of COVID-19. This unpredictability is what has resulted in scientists so far being unable to find a cure but that, of course, could take decades. 

So the Government is perhaps right to discontinue the SoE to allow citizens their right to freedom of movement.

This, however, presents a new clear and present danger — which existed even with the SoE in effect. That danger is the burden of responsibility.

In removing the SoE, which some sectors agree helped keep the numbers down, citizens are now in control of their destinies as far as staving off the virus is concerned.

From what the Prime Minister and Health Minister detailed yesterday, however, it is an uphill battle.

There were an astounding 22 more deaths and 403 new cases reported yesterday, clearly indicating that society is far off from making the disciplined life changes necessary to keep the virus away.

More disturbingly, it was revealed that some private medical experts are part of the problem. Apparently, they have been treating infected persons with other forms of medication, including the controversial Ivermectin, instead of directing them to hospitals. Days later, these same individuals end up at this same institution but in some cases, it is too late to save them. Then some are also refusing to be taken to hospital for treatment. The 600,000 people who to this day refuse to take vaccines — currently the only true form of protection against the virus — remain our most troubling issue.

So, as some sectors of society celebrate the return of our freedom of movement, we hope that they will also consider that discipline in the choices we make are also a good defence. The best choice at the moment is to vaccinate, practise the three Ws and adhere to the public health ordinances. Now that the country is going to be closer to a full reopening again, it may be the only way to prevent an onslaught of COVID deaths.