A New set of COVID-19 protocols took effect yesterday as Saint Lucia prepares for the possible presence of the latest variant of the coronavirus – Omicron.
The variant has yet to be confirmed on island, however the Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs last week stated that the transmission rate and disease profile suggest it may already be present in country.
Saint Lucia, over the past week, has seen a steady increase in active COVID-19 cases which Thursday registered 773. Over 14,414 of Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 have been registered in Saint Lucia thus far, with 306 deaths.
“After much discussion and consultation between the Ministry of Health, COVID-19 Management Centre and Cabinet of Ministers, a decision on the COVID-19 protocols for the month of January was made,” said Health Minister Moses Jn Baptiste.
Cabinet, he said, had decided on the following protocols for the period Friday January 7, 2022 to Friday February 4, 2022. Confinement to residence during the week from Mondays to Thursdays will commence at 10pm and on Fridays and Saturdays confinement will commence at 9 pm and on Sundays confinement will be at 6 pm.
Educational institutions will continue to operate on a face to face basis and follow the COVID-19 protocols. The Ministry of Education will continue to provide more information to the public.
“Additionally as of Monday January 10, 2022 public omnibuses should not be loaded with more than 10 passengers The public is reminded that mass crowd events, competitive or high contact sporting activity, including indoor and outdoor training and local competitions are not allowed at this time, however; a person can host or attend a social event or recreational activity that does not exceed 35 persons of his or her immediate family at his or her residence,” Jn Baptiste said.
He added that in accordance with the Criminal Code Cap, 3.01 no loud music will be permitted at a social event or recreational activity; A faith-based organization may hold a special religious ceremony including baptisms, weddings, and funerals only if there are no more than 100 people in attendance and providing also that physical distancing guidelines are strictly observed.
Beach picnics, river parties and other public celebrations will not be allowed.
“These adjustments to the current protocols will be in place up to February 4, 2022,” Jn Baptiste said.
He told Saint Lucians that “all of this can come to naught if we choose to act irresponsibly and, in the process, hurt even those who are trying their best to slow the spread of COVID-19. These measures by themselves will not help us if we do not act with an urgent sense of purpose.”
He called on Saint Lucians to act as one country and as one loving family in the best interest of themselves and their families.
“The Government of Saint Lucia asks for the cooperation of everyone, in following the COVID-19 protocols and working together to fight this COVID-19 pandemic. Get vaccinated, encourage family and friends to be vaccinated and be a leader in your communities in the efforts of our health officials to stop the spread of COVID-19,” Jn Baptiste said.