“Caswell: COVID-19 measures overdue”

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Opposition Senator Caswell Franklyn told Government a short while ago to get ahead with protecting the country and stop wasting time.

Franklyn was speaking during debate on the Emergency Management (Amendment Bill), 2020, where Government is seeking to declare a public health emergency in relation to novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

The veteran trade unionist said legislation was already in place and there was no need to amend legislation to give power, for example, to the Chief Medical Officer, who already has it.

He said people were out there “mixing  and getting sick” and restrictions should have been in place before.

Franklyn said the curfew imposed by Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley to take effect March 28 should be a minimum of three weeks as the incubation period for COVID-19 is two weeks. This would limit the risk of people going back to work who are sick, he said.

The Senator also said he received complaints of employers taking advantage of workers by insisting that employees take vacation during this perood of finding responses to COVID-19 such as physical and social distancing.

He said employers insisting that workers take vacation “is illegal” and some businesses were only thinking about their bottom line.

The trade unionist said it would have been better to layoff workers during the curfew where they would still be entitled to their vacation with pay.

Franklyn described the debate as a “sideshow”. He said there is no divide in dealing with COVID-19 because of its potential risks and wants Government to implement the restrictive measures which, he too, believes are necessary.