St Lucia lifting State of Emergency
CASTRIES – Prime Minister Phillip J Pierre, indicating that St. Lucians will have to live with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic for the ‘foreseeable future” has announced an end to the existing state of emergency (SOE) that was put in place by the last administration to curb the spread of the virus that has so far killed 232 and infected 12 129 others since March last year.
“On October 16, the state of emergency will end and will not be reinstated,” Pierre said, acknowledging that some of the existing protocols would remain in place until the end of the month.
He said while the science validated the restriction of movement of people which led to a decline in the number of COVID-19 positive cases, “these restrictions come with great personal challenges.
“As we strive to find the right balance between securing some level of normality in our daily lives and fighting the CVUD-19 pandemic …the COVID-19 virus looks like it will be with us for the foreseeable future and we must therefore commence the process of living with that reality while taking the necessary measures to avoid a dysfunctional society,” Pierre said in a radio and television broadcast on Thursday night.
He said however, the restrictions to the opening of business hours where citizens met for socialising would be maintained to assist in reducing the opportunity for spreading the virus.
“The Cabinet of Ministers has agreed to adopt the COVID-19 Prevention and Control Act to invoke adjusted protocols and restrictions that are necessary to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus.” He said, adding that these new measures will come into effect from Sunday until the end of the month in the first instance.
“Let me assure you that as soon as the rate of infection reduces to a relatively safe level, the restrictions will be relaxed. I take no measure in announcing that for the time being we will have to undergo continued restrictions in your movements because these are still necessary to control the spread of the virus.
“I empathise with you as we continue to live with the many inconveniences brought on by this global COVID-19 virus. I believe the majority of St Lucians have done well in observing the protocols, “Pierre added.
Health, Wellness, and Elderly Affairs Minister, Moses Jn Baptiste under the new measures, the confinement to residence on weekends will be in effect Monday to Saturday from 7 p.m. and ends at 4 a.m. (local time) while there will be a 24-hour confinement on Sundays. (CMC)