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St Lucia extends COVID protocols

St Lucia extends COVID protocols

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CASTRIES – The St Lucia government extended the protocols aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) that has killed two people and infected nearly 250 here until December 14.

Following a meeting of the National Emergency Management Advisory Committee (NEMAC) the government announced the extension of measures to limit movement and curtail social gatherings in order to reduce the number of active COVID-19 cases on island.

The authorities also decided that an adjustment to the restrictions on sporting activities would now allow athletes to receive one-on-one training. A modification was made to allow very limited opening of the education sector to support students preparing for the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC), the Common Entrance Exams and students enrolled at the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College (SALCC) in subjects which require use of the laboratory.

A final adjustment was made to allow attendance at churches based on the square footage at the institutions. According to the authorities, people are also being encouraged to work from home where possible.

“All agencies and businesses will continue to implement a Blended Service/Operations Approach where possible for the employees.  Additionally, where possible there should be a complete move to staff and board meetings being held virtually/online platform,” the authorities said in a statement.

It said that all business operations and commercial activities must end by 9:00 pm (local time), as guided by The COVID19 (Prevention & Control) Act.

“Mass crowd events and social gatherings are strictly prohibited including permissions for loud music. In public and private settings, individuals are encouraged to limit their contact to their immediate households. No provisions will be made for celebrations (receptions or parties) of any kind including for birthdays, retirements, wedding or funeral receptions,”

The authorities said that all daily or regular church and religious services are permitted in accordance with social distancing protocols.

“Religious institutions may carry out services according to the square footage of the church. This is guided by each institution’s guidelines and protocols approved by the Ministry of Health.  Special religious rites, including christenings, weddings and funerals will be limited to 25 individuals, inclusive of observers and the service leaders. Churches must strictly enforce exit plans,” the statement added.

It noted that schools are to remain physically closed and exclusively operational via multimedia modules.

In announcing the protocols, Prime Minister Allen Chastanet called on all St Lucians to “play our part in obeying the decisions and encouraged the population to continue wearing a protective mask, practicing social distancing and ensure regular sanitisation”. (CMC)