Basseterre, St. Kitts, Thursday, 2nd April, 2020, (MyVue News.com) – With only hours remaining before the first phase of total lock down expired in the country, Prime Minister, Timothy Harris has announced that the nationwide restrictions will be extended.
He also made, what many would consider a change in policy, and is now urging citizens to wear masks.
Previously, medical experts in the country had indicated that there was no need for members of the public to wear masks. However, as counties like Taiwan and South Korea have proven, the use of masks is essential in helping to stop the spread of the Corona Virus.
For the benefit of the public we publish the full text of the Prime Minister’s address below.
My fellow citizens and residents:
Today, Thursday, 2nd April, 2020, I have asked His Excellency, the Governor General, to make further Emergency Powers (COVID-19) Regulations under the State of Emergency now existing in St. Kitts and Nevis. These Regulations will take effect on Friday morning, the 3rd April at 6:01 am when the current Regulations enacted on Tuesday, expire.
These new (COVID-19) Regulations will be the Emergency Powers (COVID-19) (No 3) Regulations , SR&O No 10 of 2020, and will run until Thursday, 9th April at 7pm when the Cabinet of Ministers will determine any new action to be taken. This will be based on, and informed by, the advice of the Chief Medical Officer, the Medical Chief of Staff of the JNF General Hospital, other Health Professional Experts, the leadership of the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) and the Security Forces.
On Friday morning, the Shelter in Place Regulations, will remain in force. This means that, as we continue to use every effort to prevent the spread of the novel corona virus, or COVID-19, every person shall remain confined to their place of residence, inclusive of their yard space, to avoid contact outside of their family. You should stay at home except in special circumstances.
We realize that some people will be without food and necessary medicines and medical supplies, and on Friday and on the next day, Saturday, between the hours of 6am and 7pm, a limited or restricted curfew will allow persons to go to supermarkets and pharmacies, to restock on the necessities of life. If you need to buy food or medicine, we encourage that only one member of a household leave the residence to do so; that you prepare a list of your food items, avoid unnecessary shopping and frequent visits to the supermarkets.
Those of you who live in rural areas are further encouraged to purchase your food items in your local community shops and lessen any congestion that could take place if you travel to the City center. I urge those of you who must leave your homes, to do your tasks and return to your home in the quickest time possible.
If you do have to go out, the Regulations require you to, and you must, practice social or physical distancing. You should maintain a physical distance of at least six feet (6 ft) in or outside of any business place that you must visit. Everyone is encouraged to wear a face mask which covers their nose and mouth.
A curfew remains in place from 7pm Friday night to 6am Saturday morning.
On Saturday night, at 7pm, a full 24 hour curfew, a total lockdown, is reintroduced until Wednesday morning at 6am. This means a full 24 hour lockdown on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday continuing until Wednesday at 6:00 a.m. The Security Personnel reported that this has been effective as there has been little or no breach of the current Curfew Order. Where this has occurred, the offenders have been arrested and will be charged and prosecuted. Irresponsible behavior will not be tolerated.
On Wednesday and Thursday next week, the Regulations will allow persons to leave their homes once more on a limited basis to purchase any food and medicines between the hours of 6am and 7pm, while a curfew will be in place for Wednesday night from 7pm to 6am Thursday.
These Regulations are necessary to slow the transmission of the virus from one person to another, including reducing secondary infections among close contacts and health care workers. As we interrupt human to human transmission we can be more effective in identifying, isolating and caring for patients. The sooner treatment can start the better for all of us.
During this period, allowance is made for the Security Forces and other Security Personnel, Health Care Officers, technical emergency officers of utilities including telecoms, and media personnel, to be out of their residences to provide essential services. On those days when there is a limited or restricted movement for businesses and their employees to provide essential services at supermarkets and pharmacies, businesses should request permission from the Commissioner of Police for those employees designated by them to work. They should be given an ID and produce it if called upon to do so by the Security Forces to secure their travel to and from work.
Fellow Citizens and Residents, these are not normal times. The situation changes from day to day and our Emergency Powers (COVID-19) Regulations will be kept under constant review, and those changes that are seen to be desirable, will be made from time to time.
We must all act responsibly not just for ourselves but for the wider community. We must show greater respect and love for each other. We are fighting for the good of our communities and for our Country and we must not waiver.
May God continue to Bless All our people, and Bless the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.
I thank you.