Antigua PM announces 24 hour curfew

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Antigua PM announces 24 hour curfew

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

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ST JOHN'S, Antigua (CMC) — Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne today (Tuesday, March 31) announced a 24 hour curfew for the next seven days beginning on Thursday.

This new initiative from Browne came after he berated the people of his country for not taking seriously the threats posed by the coronavirus (COVID-19) that has killed more than 30,000 people worldwide since last December.

Browne, who sought parliamentary approval for the state of emergency (SOE) that was announced over the last weekend, said the SOE would remain in effect for the next 60 days, but could be extended if the virus continues to exist.

He told legislators that he was disappointed that many people had despite the 10 hour curfew announced last week, were continuing to congregate, go on beach 'lymes' as well as gather at various places, dismissing the social distancing measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

“As a consequence, the Cabinet of Antigua and Barbuda has agreed to extend the curfew from 10 hours a day to 24 hours a day for the next seven days,” he said, adding that it will come into effect one second after midnight on Thursday morning.

“It means therefore that no one will be allowed to be on the streets of Antigua and Barbuda unless that person is an essential worker,” he said, adding also that only two individuals are permitted to be on the streets “at any given time to go shopping or to get fuel”.

“We will give further details on the policy as to exactly who could move, but in essence it gives a lock down and we are asking people to stay at home in order to contain the spread of the virus.”

Browne, who was addressing Parliament by virtual communication, said the existing curfew remains in place until the new one kicks in on Thursday.

Browne warned Antigua and Barbuda to be prepared for a significant increase in the number of positive cases here, adding that over the next two weeks, the island could record as many as 1,000 cases based on the various international models using the present 10 cases on the island.

He said every individual would have to take personal responsibility for their health adding “I can't over emphasise how deadly COVID-19 is…we do not want people to become complacent”.

“COVID-19 is extremely deadly, we ought to recognise that,” he said noting that the government has already spent EC$20 million (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) on preparing for the virus.

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