The right decision

By MyVue News.com Staff Writer

Basseterre, Friday, 26th June 2021, (MyVue News.com)-The move by the government of St. Kitts & Nevis on Friday evening to fully lockdown the island of St. Kitts, was the right one to help stop the current spread of the Coronavirus.

It would have also been the right decision had it come sooner.

No less than a ‘billion times’ (our emphasis), have the medical experts said, “the virus cannot transport itself, it needs humans.” The best way to stop that willing human transporter is to stop their movement, monitor it carefully, and take swift and tough actions when breached.

The meme that spreads across St. Kitts and Nevis with a young local boy says it best, “They don’t hear”. There should be a new meme that says, “They don’t listen.”

Therefore, the announcement of the new measures alone, may not be enough.

The days of limited ease, today, Saturday and tomorrow, Sunday, and then next week and the following one, for shopping and other essential activities, could also become a problem. Too many businesses, including supermarkets, have dropped their guard and have not been as vigilant as they were last year.

Therefore, the shopping days announced could become “super spreaders” if not managed by store owners and surveilled by the security forces. The message is…GET even TOUGHER! Failure could be more misery for the entire population.

Success, however, may have a greater chance if there is more ‘people cooperation’; discipline and respect for the rules; a review and strengthening of all internal crisis management operations; stricter enforcement of protocols at quarantine sites; a review of operations at medical facilities; new briefing methods and; less public distraction and personal attacks.

The island of Nevis has been exempted from these new measures and will continue those protocols that had been in place since 12th June. This too, to some extent, was the correct one. The circumstances are different and official transport between the two islands, anyway, has been restricted. Residents on Nevis though should not relax their guard thinking new cases are not possible. Only 15 cases are currently there but anything can change, as St. Kitts found out the hard way.

It is obvious though that the administration had been trying to avoid the more drastic actions, hoping that the past two weeks would have brought the spread under control. More importantly, though, the belief or confidence was that citizens would have disciplined themselves and stayed at home, as mandated.

There was also the belief that citizens, by now, would have understood that if they failed to follow the non-pharmaceutical protocols, then more people would be exposed and the virus would be transferred and cases would rise. The authorities were thinking that all citizens and residents would act responsibly, but some have not been anywhere close to embracing their own care, that of their families and the public.

It should not be discounted though, that some spreaders were asymptomatic and became innocent carriers and spreaders. Not all of these could be excused though, if they were not following the protocols as required. Their struggles though are now real and every best wish should be extended.

This is a responsibility that government should never again, totally invest in an unwilling section of its national community.

The evidence was profound these last 14 days. People are not willing to stay at home, not willing to stay in quarantine, and not willing to wear their masks properly, social distance, and wash or sanitize their hands.

The sad thing is, most have complied, but there seems to be that small band of rule-breakers who listen, not even to themselves, much less the health experts trying to keep everyone safe.

The new measures announced by the government are the right ones.

New Restrictions

Under these new restrictive measures, the State of Emergency remains in place for both St. Kitts and Nevis and the existing curfew for both islands will continue. But there will be for the island of St. Kitts:

Lockdown

  • Complete 24-hour lockdown from 6:00 p.m. Sunday, 27th June, to 5:00 a.m. Thursday, 1st July;
  • On Thursday 1st and Friday, 2nd July, there will be a limited movement for limited operation of essential businesses, from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • The full 24-hour lockdown returns from 6:00 p.m. on Friday, 2nd July,  to Thursday, 8th July.
  • On Thursday, 8th and Friday, 9th July, once again, limited movement will be permitted for essentials, from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on both days.
  • The 24-hour lockdown resumes on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th July.

Shelter in place order

A Shelter in Place Order will be strictly enforced. This means that every person shall remain confined to their place of residence, inclusive of their yard space, to avoid contact outside their family, except:
1.   essential workers, who are required to report to work;
2.   workers required to work in hospitals and medical facilities, businesses licensed to provide security guard services, and such other businesses as may be specifically exempted;
3.   for essential travel for medical emergencies; and
4.   for essential travel to a vaccination site with a vaccination card and one photo ID for production to law enforcement on demand between 8.00 a.m. and 1.00 p.m. from Monday, 28th June to Wednesday, 30th June.

Closures

a.  All places of business including doctors offices will be closed during the strict lockdown hours;

b. On days of limited operation, only essential businesses will be allowed to operate and these businesses are limited to supermarkets, pharmacies, and medical facilities, and those limited businesses authorized by the Commissioner of Police;

c.   While religious and educational institutions are closed, this is a special time for our students as they sit their external exams, and therefore a special dispensation is granted to allow students and their parents or guardians to travel to an examination center;

d.   A limited number of Government workers will be needed to ensure the continued functioning of the State. Permanent Secretaries, Directors and other Heads will determine who will be required to attend work;

e.   There shall be no mass gatherings, and no parties and other social events;

f.   The beaches in St. Kitts will be closed.  Confine your exercise programme to your home and yard space;

g.   Liquor licenses are suspended. Absolutely NO rum shops, bars nor nightspots will be allowed to operate;

h.   A special exception has been granted for farmers and fishers to tend their flock and to go fishing to keep our food supply going during days of limited operation.

As of Friday, 25th June, 2021, St. Kitts & Nevis had 428 cases, with 313 active. Only 3 cases were reported on Friday.

Featured Photo: Prime Minister Timothy Harris, St. Kitts & Nevis

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