St Lucia on Friday announced new curfew hours including a total shutdown of the island on Sunday as the authorities deal with the increase in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases here in recent days.
On Thursday, the Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs reported two deaths from the virus while also confirming that 220 more people had tested positive for the virus, bringing the number of diagnosed cases in the country to date to 8,542. The ministry said 76 people have died since the first case was detected in March last year.
In a statement, the government said that the curfew would begin on Friday would begin from 7:00 pm and end at 4:00 am (local time), while on Saturday it would begin at 4:00 pm and end at 4:00 am. It said that on Sunday there would be a 24-hour curfew.
The measures would remain in place until September 14.
In addition, the government also announced the suspension of the sale and disposal of intoxicating liquor at bars, rum shops and restaurants. The authorities also announced the suspension of dine-in services at restaurants and food establishments. They said take-away and delivery services will be permitted.
The government said recreational and social activities at hotels will be permitted on the property during the curfew hours provided that such activities take place on the property and that water sports including boat rides “must be suspended during the 24-hour weekend curfew”.
The Ministry of Health and Wellness urged the public to adhere to the protocols stipulated. Individuals are also encouraged to get vaccinated to protect themselves and others from the virus.
To date, 34,901 individuals have received the first dose of the Astra Zeneca COVID-19 vaccine and 27,942 have received the second shot. In the case of the Pfizer vaccine, 3,175 individuals have received the first jab and 71 individuals got the second dose, the ministry said.