Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 28, 2020 (SKNIS): Monday (April 27, 2020) saw the start of a new round of limited operation days in St. Kitts and Nevis. On Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday this week, persons are allowed to leave their homes from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. to conduct business. However, authorities have expressed dissatisfaction with the large number of persons moving around without face masks.

Chief Medical Officer, Dr Hazel Laws, raised the matter during today’s National Emergency Operations Centre Daily Briefing. She reminded that wearing face masks is outlined in the Statutory Rules and Order No. 15 of 2020. Section 15 states, “… a person shall wear a face mask, covering their nose and mouth, when in a public place, once a period of emergency is declared in relation to COVID-19.”

A significant number of persons who have the new coronavirus have mild or no symptoms,” Dr Laws stated. “Additionally, if someone develops symptoms, they are able to transmit the virus before symptoms appear. The use of the cloth face mask prevents the wearer from spreading the virus-laden droplets even if they are not aware they are infected.”

Abdias Samuel, Chair of the National COVID-19 Task Force, also weighed in on this troubling development. He noted that one startling report from the Compliance Task Force revealed that most passengers on public transportation did not wear face masks, although they had one in their possession.

I, therefore, appeal to the general public and bus operators, to ensure for your own safety that the passengers that you have to care about comply with the regulations and wear a mask,” Mr Samuel stated.

The chairman advised that the decision to further strengthen lock- down restrictions or to continue easing them will be heavily influenced influence by public behaviour as authorities work to curb the spread of COVID-19.