Government is extending the current COVID-19 protocols for another three months.
Today, the House of Assembly passed a resolution under the Proclamation of Emergency Powers Act, which will see the current protocols, which expire on September 22, remain in effect from September 23 to December 21 this year.
Minister of Health and Wellness and Member of Parliament for St. Michael West Central Ian Gooding-Edghill in his introductory comments said, “The pandemic is presently on a downward trajectory. We have moved from a positivity rate of 41 per cent in July to one of 15 per cent this week. However, we are concerned about the death toll in the over 70 age group, and even though our numbers may be trending downwards, we must be careful not to erase all the gains we have made thus far.”
He stated that, “Government is committed to relaxing all the protocols, and before we make these decisions we look at local, regional and international trends, but we act on the advice from internal and external agencies and the Chief Medical Officer, and based on that, we have agreed to keep these measures in place for another three months.”
Given the rising death toll among the elderly, Gooding-Edghill said, “We have to continue to manage visitation of private and public sector owned homes for the elderly and other healthcare facilities, because we have a duty to protect them.”
He also commended the work of the COVID-19 Monitoring Unit in helping to control community spread and the team of doctors and nurses from Cuba who have been working at the treatment facility at Harrison Point.
Under the revised protocols, the requirement for visitors to be tested on arrival at the island’s ports of entry and the three-feet social distancing requirement have been removed. The isolation period for those who have tested positive for the disease has also been reduced. The minister noted that, “It has been a long and difficult road for our families, businesses and the government, but we have a duty to maintain our surveillance and take the necessary precautions.”