In an effort to halt the spread of COVID-19, the government of St Kitts and Nevis has announced further restrictions, beginning Saturday and continuing for at least two weeks, including an 11-hour curfew.
In a televised address to the nation on Friday evening, Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris said the decision to implement the partial lockdown was a difficult but necessary decision.
“Our number one priority in this fight against COVID-19 is, and has always been, to keep our people safe and we will do whatever it takes to protect our people,” he said.
“After a thorough evaluation of the situation on the ground, the Cabinet has agreed that we needed to restrict the movement of people to contain the movement of the virus. We will therefore place the country under lockdown as of Saturday, 12 June from 6 p.m. for 14 days to Saturday 26 June in the first instance.
“Under this lockdown, the Cabinet has determined that people should stay at home over the next two weeks. There shall be a curfew daily from 6:00 pm to 5:00 am,” the Prime Minister added.
He said that under the new restrictions, all essential businesses and offices 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.
All gaming establishments will be closed, there will be absolutely no mass events, beaches are to be used for the purpose of exercise only during this period, there will be no street vending for the next 14 days in the first instance and vending will only be allowed at the public market with controlled spaces where strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols must be observed.
Moreover, there will be no in-person dining at restaurants and bars; however, take-out and delivery will be permitted and ferry service operations will be subject to heightened restrictions to curtail non-essential inter-island travel.
The Prime Minister noted that security officers will be out in their numbers enforcing protocols with respect to social distancing and masks wearing. Persons not in compliance with these protocols will be penalized, he said.
At an emergency meeting of the Federal Cabinet on Thursday, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Hazel Laws informed that the number of positive cases continued to grow. It was reported that there were 11 positive cases on Wednesday and another 25 were recorded on Thursday. That brought the total number of cases recorded since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to 155, an increase of 111 cases in a few short weeks.
“Thankfully, 61 of these cases are fully recovered while 94 remain active, with four hospitalized, one being very ill,” Dr. Harris said. “We have listened carefully to the health professionals and have been guided by the science. That is precisely why we took tough measures early to contain the virus.”