Address to the Nation by the Hon. Prime Minister, Dr. Timothy Harris to Update on the COVID-19 Situation – June 25, 2021
My fellow citizens and residents:
In my address to the Nation on June 12, 2021, I outlined a number of measures intended to contain the community spread of the COVID-19 virus. I stated that these measures would be in place for 14 days until June 26, 2021. The measures taken as a whole were intended mainly to significantly contain the spread of COVID-19.
We continually emphasized the importance of the use of the non-pharmaceutical measures of social distancing, wearing of masks and hand sanitizing to decrease the spread. We warned about complacency and inaction in this fight as the virus is relentless in its attack and we needed to be relentless in our efforts at containing it and protecting ourselves.
The reduction envisaged over the 14-day incubation period was not realized. Further, sadly over the last week we suffered the loss of 3 of our fellow citizens from this dreaded virus. Every life is precious. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the deceased.
We are very satisfied that our vaccination programme was successfully rolled out, culminating in over 800 persons yesterday Thursday and today we had over 900 persons showing up for their second dose of the vaccine.
There is still over 30 percent of the adult population who have not yet received a single dose. The virus will continue to target the vulnerable and unprotected persons in our community and find a way to spread itself. Until we contain this wave of infection and all who should be vaccinated are vaccinated and protected, we will remain vulnerable to this virus.
Against this backdrop, I wish to inform you that today the Federal Cabinet met and, after a thorough evaluation of the situation, determined that there is a need for more restrictive measures to help stop the movement of people and bring to a halt the current wave that has threatened the fabric of all of our institutions and every sector of our society.
We understand the social, psychological and economic impact this may have on our citizens and residents but believe it is necessary for the benefit of all.
We will also do all within our power to get everyone safely through this period and provide assistance to those in need, through the social services arm of Government. Our National Task Force will organize the delivery of care packages to those in need.
Under these new restrictive measures, the State of Emergency remains in place for both St. Kitts and Nevis and the existing curfew for both islands will continue. But there will be for the island of St. Kitts:
- Complete 24-hour lockdown from 6:00 p.m. Sunday, June 27th to 5:00 a.m. Thursday, July 01st. On Thursday and Friday, July 02nd, there will be limited movement for limited operation of essential businesses from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and a return to full 24- hour lockdown from 6:00 p.m. Friday, July 02nd to Thursday, July 08th. We will again have limited movement for essentials on Thursday, July 08th and Friday, July 09th from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on both days and return to 24-hour lockdown on Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th July.
- A Shelter in Place Order will be strictly enforced. This means that every person shall remain confined to their place of residence, inclusive of their yard space, to avoid contact outside their family, except:
- essential workers, who are required to report to work;
- workers required to work in hospitals and medical facilities, businesses licensed to provide security guard services, and such other businesses as may be specifically exempted;
- for essential travel for medical emergencies; and
- for essential travel to a vaccination site with vaccination card and one photo ID for presentation to law enforcement on demand between 8:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. from Monday, June 28th to Wednesday, June 30th.
- All places of business including doctors’ offices will be closed during the strict lockdown hours. On days of limited operation, only essential businesses will be allowed to operate and these businesses are limited to supermarkets, pharmacies and medical facilities, and those limited businesses authorized by the Commissioner of Police.
- While religious and educational institutions are closed, this is a special time for our students as they sit their external exams and therefore a special dispensation is granted to allow students and their parents or guardians to travel to an examination center.
- A limited number of Government workers will be needed to ensure the continued functioning of the State. Permanent Secretaries, Directors and other Heads will determine who will be required to attend work.
- Clearly, there shall be no mass gatherings, and no parties and other social events.
- The beaches in St. Kitts will be closed. We ask that you confine your exercise programme to your home and yard space.
- Liquor licenses are suspended. Absolutely NO rum shops, bars nor nightspots will be allowed to operate.
- We make a special exception for farmers and fishers to tend their flock, and to go fishing to keep our food supply going during days of limited operation.
There will be a special carve out for the island of Nevis, which will basically remain the same as obtains presently but will be detailed in the SR&O.
On Monday, we will convene an emergency sitting of the Parliament. We believe that this is necessary in our fight against the COVID pandemic because of the current spread of the virus here in our Country.
We believe that this difficult state of affairs in our beloved Federation requires that we extend the state of emergency, like ten other countries in the region have done, to allow us to use the emergency powers to assist our Health Team and Security Personnel in the fight against this deadly virus.
My citizens and residents, in this fight the actions of every single individual affect us all.
I urge you to do the right thing and protect yourselves over the next 14 days to prevent the continued spread of the virus.
I urge you to use the opportunity to get vaccinated so you can protect yourself, your family, and community. Vaccination is our most powerful tool to defeat the virus. The success of our vaccination roll-out so far calls for optimism.
There is light at the end of the tunnel if, and I am confident that our people will do the right thing over these coming two weeks, that will allow us to emerge safer and stronger. Let us be united in the fight for our lives and our Country. To better protect ourselves, let us get vaccinated and adhere to the COVID-19 protocols. Let us adopt the appropriate behavior needed to fight this deadly virus.
May God continue to protect us.
I Thank You.