By MyVue News.com Staff Writer
Basseterre, Friday, 11th June 2021, (MyVue News.com)-St. Kitts & Nevis has entered that new COVID-19 zone that citizens had been warned about for months, by health officials.
Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris, in a national address on Friday night, 11th June, 2021, announced to the country that the number of cases has seen a significant jump, to 155.
Just 3 weeks ago, that count was only 45.
This means that from 19th May, to 11th June, St. Kitts & Nevis has seen an extra 110 cases.
The Prime Minister revealed that 61 persons have recovered, but 94 are active. On 19th May, there were no active cases.
The increase started with case #46, who is said by health officials to have been infected by a man visiting from Argentina, and with whom there was significant contact.
Harris said the virus continues to spread in the communities and the number of cases has not peaked. They continue to persist, said the PM.
On Tuesday, 8th June, there were 119 cases, but PM Harris said that they were informed during an emergency Cabinet meeting on Thursday, 10th June, that 25 cases were recorded that same day, and the day before, Wednesday, 9th June, 11 cases were confirmed.
He said the continued spread is of deep concern to him and his government.
Four persons remain hospitalized, but one patient is “very ill” revealed Harris.
“After a thorough evaluation of the situation on the ground, the Cabinet has agreed that we need to restrict the movement of people, to contain the movement of the virus,” stated the Prime Minister.
He continued, “We will therefore place the country under lockdown, as of Saturday, 12th June, from 6:00 pm, for 14 days, to Saturday, 26th June, in the first instance.”
This means that citizens have all day on Saturday, 12th, up to 6:00 pm, to complete any shopping, and other personal and business activities, before lockdown mode comes into effect for two weeks.
Full details of all measures will be formalized in the Statutory Rules & Orders, said the Prime Minister. In those Orders, all specific details about shopping and other activities will be outlined. But what many are seeking clarity on, is “what happens between 5:01 am and 5:59 pm?
Can people go to shop and will airlines still be allowed to operate? And if so, can taxis and family members transport you to the airport? These are amongst the numerous queries that have poured in to MyVue News.com since the broadcast. The answers, are likely to be outlined in the Statutory Rules & Orders, as was done last year.
However, in the meantime, the following become effective immediately:
- Under the lockdown, the Cabinet has determined that people should stay at home, over the next 2 weeks.
- There shall be a curfew daily, from 6:00 pm to 5:00 am.
The Prime Minister said, “We understand the challenges of a lockdown, including its impact on people’s lives and livelihoods, in particular, the self-employed, persons working in the entertainment and hospitality sector, and within other areas of the private sector.”
A lockdown may result in loss of earnings, early business closures, and consequential psycho-social implications added Harris.
Harris revealed that “The following measures will be implemented to contain the spread within our communities. The measures become effective this Saturday, 12th June 2021”.
- All essential offices and businesses may continue their business operations, by allowing their employees to work remotely, from home, utilizing virtual means, unless those employees are permitted to work under special exemption, or are designated, as being essential workers.
- Where the business is unable to continue its business operations by its employees working remotely from home, the business shall cease its operations, for the next 2 weeks, in the first instance.
- All persons employed within the public service, a statutory body, a state-owned enterprise, or the courts, shall work remotely from home, except as may otherwise be directed by the Cabinet Secretary.
- All gaming establishments will be closed.
- Absolutely, no mass events.
- Beaches are to be used for the purpose of exercise only, during this period.
- No street vending for the next 14 days, in the first instance.
- Vending will only be allowed at a public market, with controlled spaces, where strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols must be observed.
- There will be no in-person dining at restaurants and bars, however, take-out and delivery will be permitted.
- Ferry service operations will be subject to heightened restrictions, to curtail non-essential inter-island travel.
Harris committed that his administration will do whatever it takes to address the spiral because his number one priority is to protect the lives of citizens and residents.
Featured Photo: Downtown Basseterre, during a previous lockdown