Monday, April 22, 2024

St Lucia extends restrictions to curb virus spread

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Castries – St Lucia on Monday announced an extension of the protocols put in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as the island had recorded one death and 24 new cases of the virus over the past 24 hours.

A government statement said that following recommendations from the Command Centre, it has extended COVID-19 Prevention and Control Protocols until May 30 as St Lucia continues to manage the spread of COVID-19.

The government said it is currently monitoring the situation regarding the spread of COVID-19, noting that over the last week “we have registered an increase in the number of active cases.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness in its latest bulletin said on Sunday, 24 new cases were confirmed from a batch of 142 samples taken during the period May 11-14.

“Confirmation of the recovery of five individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 bringing the total number of active cases in country to date to 240. Presently, two of the active cases require critical care at the Respiratory Hospital.

The new cases bring the total number of cases diagnosed in country to date to 4842,” the ministry said.

It said that one COVID-19 related death had been confirmed bringing the total number of deaths in country to date to 76. The latest casualty is a 54 year old female from the capital with underlying medical illness.

In announcing the extension of the protocols, the government said it was also calling on citizens to continue practicing the infection prevention and control measures to reduce the spread the virus.

The government said that the 9.00 pm to 4.00 am (local time) curfew will remain in place while encouraging all agencies and businesses to continue to implement a blended service/ operations approach where possible for the employees.

It said all business operations and commercial activities shall cease operation at 9:00PM to 4:00AM daily and that social gatherings are restricted to no more than 10 people of immediate family. In public and private settings, individuals are encouraged to limit their contact as much as possible and adhere to all the necessary protocol as well as mindful to general hygiene procedure. No allowance is given for mass gathering social events of any kind or loud music permits.

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

“Special religious rites, including Baptisms, Weddings and Funerals will be limited to a maximum of 50 individuals (inclusive of observers and the service leaders.”

The authorities have also banned all competitive and high-contact sporting activities, inclusive of in-door and outdoor trainings, local competitions or social activities.

“Provisions apply for individual or immediate family households to exercise in a safe, open-air space. Gyms are permitted per square footage and protocols. A non-contact sporting activity is allowed if there are no more than fifteen persons in attendance excluding spectators and crowds.”

Schools are allows in class training and instruction for the third term. But they are to follow strict protocols and regulations issued by the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Educations continuity plan for schools here “to operate safely on a specified system”. (CMC)

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