Following the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in China, former president of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) Dr Warren Blake is urging Jamaican athletes and administrators to remain vigilant in protecting themselves from contracting the virus.

Blake told the Jamaica Observer that despite the decrease in COVID-19 cases in Jamaica in the recent past, people should be reminded that the pandemic is not over, therefore, they should be extremely cautious, especially when travelling overseas.

“My advice is that whenever people are travelling they still have to take into account that the pandemic is really not over despite the regulations being relaxed in Jamaica and in the United States,” said Blake.

“People need to be careful because locally the COVID virus numbers are down and remain down, but we still get one or two cases from time to time so people really still have to be vigilant in protecting themselves at all times.

“I want to also advise our athletes and administrators to be vigilant and aware that COVID is still around and they need to protect themselves. They should still wear their masks at times except for when they are competing and warming up, and that they should sanitise frequently and to maintain social distance, especially to people who are obviously ill,” Blake said.

COVID-19 cases have surged in China since it dropped its zero-COVID policy in December, and the latest projections suggest that at least one million people could die from the latest surge.

Blake, who is a medical practitioner by trade, said based on reports the latest strain of the novel coronavirus in China is even deadlier than previous ones.

“I think that this new strain of COVID-19 in China…is set to be more effective than anything else,” he said.

“We don’t know about the severity of the infection, but it spreads much easier than the previous strains. And people should still follow the rules of social distancing and mask-wearing when they are in public, and especially when they are in enclosed spaces like on the airplane, because when you are not eating, then you should be wearing your mask,” Blake ended.

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