New COVID-19 Protocols for November

The Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs, yesterday announced a new set of protocols which will commence on Monday, November 1, and end on Tuesday November 30.

Although the number of active cases associated with the fourth wave has decreased significantly, Health Minister Moses Jn Baptiste warned that the fight is far from over.

“Our active cases have dropped to three hundred (350) cases. We also note a steady decline in the rate of transmission. We have been able to commence the phased face-face opening of school and look forward to keeping our children at school in a safe learning environment. As encouraging as these developments may be, we know that we are a long way off from the ideal situation, where vaccination is concerned,” Jn Bapiste said Thursday.

He applauded citizens for adhering to the protocols, touting their “great sacrifice and cooperation” as the reason for “where we are today.”

“These gains were achieved at a time when the number of cases and deaths globally and regionally continue to rise—(this) is an accomplishment for which you, the people of Saint Lucia, deserve full credit,” Jn Baptiste said, adding that even as we acknowledge these gains, we cannot forget our losses.

“On behalf of the Prime Minister, my Cabinet colleagues and on my own behalf, I wish to extend my sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of the two hundred and fifty-three (253) victims of COVID-19 in our country. Our government is determined to draw on all resources at its disposal, to give the best chance of survival to those who are infected by COVID-19 and require hospitalization,” he said.

As a result, Jn Baptiste explained the Ministry continues to focus on improving the conditions at the Respiratory Hospital. According to him, this week, for the very first time, the Ministry installed a central electronic monitoring system at the Respiratory Hospital. When completed, doctors and nurses will be able to view the status of patients, on one screen and in one location.

“We will continue to prioritize the COVID-19 immunization programme. We are encouraged to note an increase in the number of vaccinations over the last few weeks. Now, just over one in five or 22% of Saint Lucians is fully vaccinated and just over one in four Saint Lucians or 27% of the population have received one dose of a vaccine. We have also started providing booster doses, for special groups who received their second vaccine dose six months ago,” Jn Baptiste stated.

However, he stated, that as encouraging as these developments may be, Saint Lucia’s vaccination rate is well below that of many countries in the Caribbean and “we must do better.”

“We aim to catch up. Saint Lucia is still at a critical stage in its fight against the fourth wave of this pandemic. As we enter the festive season, we cannot let our guard down. We are not unmindful of the desire of all Saint Lucians, especially our businesspersons, to get a little relief from the protocols. Every meeting of the COVID Management Centre and the Cabinet, is dominated by discussions about how we might do this,” Jn Baptiste said.

According to him, every discussion ends with the conclusion that premature relief would lead to long-term damage to Saint Lucia’s society and economy. Nonetheless, the consensus is that moving forward, “we should provide as much predictability in the protocols as is possible to allow our citizens and businesspersons to plan their affairs.”

Jn Baptiste stated that government will continue to monitor the trends during this period and said that protocols will be reviewed in relation to the festive season in December.

“Let us all continue adhering to the protocols to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus and return our country to the level of normalcy which we all desire,” he said.

The new COVID-19 protocols are as follows:

1. Confinement to residence will continue in effect from Monday to Friday from 10:00pm and end at 4:00am.

2. Confinement on weekends will be as follows: on Saturday November 6th and Saturday, November 13th, 2021, confinement will start at 10:00pm and end at 4:00am on the following Monday. On Sunday, November 21st and Sunday, November 28, 2 =021, confinement will start from 1pm each day until 4:00am the following Monday.

3. On Sunday November 7th and Sunday November 14, a person may attend a religious ceremony during confinement but must return to his or her residence by 1pm on that day.

4. A person may host or attend a social event with 50 or less fully vaccinated persons. An application must be made to and approval must be granted by the Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs.

5. Religious Ceremonies are allowed based on the square footage of the organization in keeping with approved COVID-19 response plan. Special Religious rites including weddings, baptisms and funerals are permitted with one hundred (100) or less persons.

6. An approved bar with a valid liquor licence is permitted to operate from 10:00am until closure of business to fully vaccinated persons only.

7. Dine-in services at approved restaurants and food establishments, is allowed to fully vaccinated patrons only. Take away (grab and go) and delivery services will be permitted at other establishments.

8. A certified accommodation provider or an approved tourism establishment may permit a fully vaccinated person access to the services offered by the provider or establishment.

9. All educational institutions may open for face-to-face engagement to facilitate structured supervision from November 8, 2021. The Ministry of Education, Sustainable Development, Innovation, Science, Technology and Vocational Training will communicate the confirmed dates to the public.

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