Antigua’s PM announces 24-hour lockdown
ST JOHN’S – Prime Minister Gaston Browne Tuesday announced a 24-hour curfew for the next seven days beginning on Thursday after berating the people of Antigua and Barbuda of not taking seriously the threats posed by the coronavirus (COVID-19) that has killed more than 30 000 people worldwide since last December.
Browne, who sought parliamentary approval for the state of emergency (SOE) that was announced over the last weekend, said the SOE would remain in effect for the next 60 days, but could be extended if the virus continues to exist.
He told legislators that he was disappointed that many people had, despite the ten-hour curfew announced last week, were continuing to congregate, go on beach limes as well as gather at various places, dismissing the social distancing measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
“As a consequence, the cabinet of Antigua and Barbuda has agreed to extend the curfew from ten hours a day to 24 hours a day for the next seven days,” he said, adding that it will come into effect one second after midnight on Thursday morning.
“It means therefore that no one will be allowed to be on the streets of Antigua and Barbuda unless that person is an essential worker,” he said, adding that only two individuals are permitted to be on the streets “at any given time to go shopping or to get fuel”.
“We will give further details on the policy as to exactly who could move, but in essence it gives a lock down and we are asking people to stay at home in order to contain the spread of the virus”.
Browne, who was addressing Parliament by virtual communication, said the exisiting curfew remains in place until the new one kicks in on Thursday.
Browne warned Antigua and Barbuda to be prepared for a significant increase in the number of positive cases here, adding that over the next two weeks, the island could record as many as 1 000 cases based on the various international models using the present tens cases on the island.