Basseterre, St. Kitts, May 23, 2020 (SKNIS): Speaking at the May 22 National Emergency Operations Center (NEOC) COVID-19 Daily Briefing, Dr. Hazel Laws, Chief Medical Officer, stated that the proper use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer is an important part of the new norm.


Dr. Laws stated that it is important that persons wash their hands frequently and thoroughly. She added that hand hygiene is still the best defence against COVID-19.


The use of simple soap and water is very effective,” she said. “However, the science tells us that we can use the alcohol-based hand sanitizer.”


The Chief Medical Officer said that the alcohol-based hand sanitizer must be used and stored carefully.


We must keep alcohol-based hand sanitizers out of the reach of children. That is very important for us as parents. Teach them how to apply the solution and monitor its use. We need to remember that we need only a coin sized amount of the hand sanitizer solution on our hands. There is no need to use a large amount of the product.”


Dr. Laws stated that persons should not touch their eyes, nose and mouth immediately after using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer as it can cause irritation.


She stated that hand sanitizers recommended to protect against the Coronavirus are alcohol-based and can therefore be flammable. “Do not use before handling fire or cooking,” she said.


The Chief Medical Officer said that under no circumstance should one drink hand sanitizer and it should be kept out of the reach of very young children who should be supervised in using it as it can be poisonous.


Dr. Laws noted that washing hands with soap and water is also effective against COVID-19. She reiterated that hand sanitization is the best defence against the Coronavirus even as the restrictions are relaxed.


Based on the new regulations, we continue a gradual relaxation of restrictions. So, hand sanitization becomes critical. As we go to the barber to get our hair cut, as we go to the hair dresser salon to get our hair done, as we go into the workspace, as we go into the bank, as we pay our bills, as we use public transportation, and now on the weekend, as we go back into the church setting, please remember hand sanitization is going to be critical.”


Dr. Laws noted that everyone has an individual responsibility to practice hygiene measures that the officials are recommending.


We all have an individual responsibility to adhere to the physical and social distancing protocols as outlined in the new Emergency Powers Regulations,” she said. “If you observe that there are individuals who are not complying with these regulations, we have a duty and a responsibility to encourage these individuals to follow the regulations.”