(Barbados Nation) Effective yesterday to January 14, Barbados will be under curfew from midnight until 5 a.m. each day, but Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has told Barbadians to pause, not panic.
In addition, all commercial fetes have been cancelled.
Mottley announced the curfew yesterday after chairman of the Cabinet’s COVID-19 Sub-committee Senator Dr Jerome Walcott said that Barbados had recorded ten new cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). They were speaking during a press conference at Ilaro Court.
Minister of Health and Wellness Jeffrey Bostic said of the ten cases, five are of particular concern, with two being prison officers. He said the ministry is actively pursuing and investigating these cases because they cannot be linked to a recent travel history.
As a result of these new cases, Mottley said it is time for firm action and decisions.
Everyone at the prison, inclusive of prison officers, inmates and civilian staff will be tested in the next 48 hours and again in five days.
Monday and Tuesday have been declared as bank holidays, not for people to gather, but to allow public health officials the time and space of a “paused Barbados” to aggressively carry out contact tracing.
In addition to the curfew, Mottley made other announcements.
The physical reopening of schools has been deferred until after January 14. Mottley said the Ministry of Education will address the issue on Monday.
In relation to commercial fetes, organisers of the 65 New Year’s Eve fetes will be reimbursed for perishable items and some cost for set-up, as long as evidence of monies spent can be provided. Organisers will not be reimbursed for alcoholic beverages.
Churches will be allowed to conduct services, but they must be completed by 11 p.m. today. Restaurants will also be allowed to operate until 11 p.m. today. The Prime Minister, however, instructed owners to make transportation arrangements for employees.
Fireworks can be used but people have been forbidden to gather.
Beaches will not be closed at this stage, but the Prime Minister warned that she is not afraid to do so. Drone technology will be made available to the Royal Barbados Police Force and the Coast Guard to “keep adequate watch”.
“What we do not want is people on the beaches gathering in the manner that they did on Boxing Day, which was completely unacceptable and for which I have asked the COVID Monitoring Unit to let me know how it happened and what actions they were going to take about it,” Mottley said.
The Prime Minister said gatherings are forbidden and asked people to stay at home in their bubbles and to sanitise and wear masks. She made a special plea to parents to talk to their children in respect of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mottley said there is no need for panic buying as supermarkets and gas stations will remain open.
She said Barbados has not recorded any deaths from COVID-19 for some time and “I want is so”.