Published On: Tue, Apr 7th, 2020

The risk of restarting the economy

Letter - St Maarten News - PeopleDear Editor,

At some point the medical and transmission risks of the Covid-19 virus will decrease and the governments will be looking to restart the economy without increasing the risk of a restart of the virus.

It is impossible to say when it will be wise to start this exit from lockdown strategies but it is perfectly possible to start thinking out strategies to exit lockdowns and restart the economy when the time comes for this tough governance decision to be made.

Clearly transmission risks are very different for different activities. The essence of what can be called the “Traffic Light Strategy” is that the minimum risk can be achieved by giving partial go-aheads to low risk activities (amber status), followed by testing before giving a green light to permanent operations on the basis of risk free performance for a specified period of time.

The strategy would involve identifying sectors with low risk and creating a set of rules specifically for that sector. The rules would probably involve some testing of employees, wearing of masks, setting of distance rules, creating dividers for situations where the distance is impractical, washing of hands at defined moments, remote functioning where possible. Most important would be the inspections and reporting that would eventually allow the enterprise to get a green light for more permanent opening.

By starting the traffic light process in the low risk sectors and monitoring of transmissions it will be possible for decision makers to assess whether it is wise to continue to higher risk sectors. The planning of strategies could be done ahead of time so that their completeness is at a high level at that moment that the political decision makers make the difficult decisions to restart the economy.

Robbie Ferron