Basseterre, St. Kitts, March 31, 2020 (SKNIS): The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis has ramped up its measures by implementing a complete lock-down for three days to further protect citizens and residents from the spread of the COVID-19 virus popularly known as the Novel Coronavirus.

The Cabinet of Ministers has determined that, after consultation with the Police High Command, the National COVID-19 Working Group, the Chief Medical Officer and the Medical Chief of Staff of the JNF General Hospital, that there be a 24-hour curfew, a total lock-down, from 7 pm Tuesday 31st March to 6 am Friday 3rd April in the first instance, said Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris during an address to the nation on March 30. “It means that the current regulations will be repealed and new regulations made in which no one except the Security Forces and other Security Personnel, the HealthCare Officers, technical emergency officers of utilities including telecoms, and media personnel, will be allowed out of their residences.”

The national security minister said that persons were found to be disobeying the curfew that went into effect on March 28 and noted that anyone who continues will face the law.

Despite a clear statement that all citizens must stay at home except in certain very limited situations, the Police High Command has reported that many persons have chosen to disobey these regulations. Irresponsible behaviour will not be tolerated. Offenders will be promptly arrested and charged,” said Dr. Harris. “We will not hesitate to prosecute those found in breach of the Emergency Powers (COVID-19) Regulations. We are in a war and this war we must win. Together we must be united with all of us doing our part to ensure our safety, that of our families, communities, and by extension, our country. This is not a time for reckless behaviour. Sober responsible behaviour is essential.”

Prime Minister Harris explained that the previous curfew implemented was done so to protect citizens and residents. He encouraged all to stay indoors if we are to help flatten the curve.

These Regulations were necessary to slow the transmission of the virus from one person to another, including reducing secondary infections among close contacts and health care workers. As we interrupt human to human transmission, we can be more effective in identifying, isolating and caring for patients. The sooner treatment can start the better for all of us,” he said.

In addition to the curfew and 24hr lock-down, the government has taken further steps to protect its citizens and residents. Effective March 25, the borders were temporarily closed for two weeks. They continue to update the general public on COVID-19 through press conferences, live broadcast and briefings to name a few. Additionally, a 34-member delegation of health specialists from the Republic of Cuba arrived at the RLB International Airport in St. Kitts on Saturday, March 28, 2020, to assist the Government in strengthening its health sector in the fight against COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus 2019)