In a few days Barbadians will find out if they have to stay inside their homes a little while longer.
This was revealed by Acting Prime Minister Santia Bradshaw this morning, as she disclosed that Government would soon be meeting to determine the next step forward as the country battles the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking during a press conference at Ilaro Court, Bradshaw explained that while they were constantly reviewing the 24-hour curfew which came into effect from last Friday, Government would ultimately be guided by the health experts on whether the curfew will be relaxed, lifted or extended.
On March 26, Prime Minister Mia Mottley had announced that from March 28 to April 15 a curfew would be instituted from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Exactly one week later, Bradshaw announced that the restrictions would be increased to a 24-hour curfew.
“It is fair to say that we are reviewing everyday…the dynamics continue to change, the figures continue to change. We are still on track in terms of what would have been predicted of where we would be, but again we are guided by the medical health professionals in terms of changing the dynamics of the curfew at this stage,” Bradshaw said.
“I believe early next week we will make the announcement in relation to whether that advice is that we continue or whether we relax the curfew in any way. I just want to assure you that we’ve had preliminary discussions with the private sector and our various partners and stakeholders with a view to looking at other mechanisms that may have to be put in place if we have to extend, because we are not waiting until that advice comes.
“We have been looking at other countries across the world and other islands across the Caribbean to look at how they have been handling it and how their people have responded to a number of the measures and also looking at what Barbadians can handle at this stage. All of that is balanced first and foremost by public health concerns,” the acting PM assured.
COVID-19 Czar Richard Carter, who had previously voiced his displeasure at the actions of Barbadians during the first curfew, admitted there was a possibility the 24-hour curfew could be extended.
However, he said this would only happen if it was completely necessary.
“The date of expiration of the curfew remains as has been announced, I believe it is midnight on April 14. However, we have said consistently that if the situation warrants it there is provision for a further extension.
“Obviously that is something that we hope we will not have to do. We understand that the restrictions have been uncomfortable for many Barbadians. We understand it has caused dislocation…,” Carter maintained.
“That is currently and continually being evaluated by the health emergency operation centre from which the Government of Barbados has continued to take its guidance and direction. Those are the public health professionals, those are the ones best-placed to determine whether or not what we are seeing in terms of the presentation of cases is consistent with what we expect at the end of the date.”
Several Caribbean islands, including Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, recently took decisions to extend their respective curfews, with T&T Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley yesterday ordering persons to stay at home for a further 15 days in an effort to halt the spread of the potentially fatal virus.
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