Friday, April 03, 2020

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St Vincent Opposition warns against 'false sense of security'

KINGSTOWN, St Vincent (CMC) — Leader of the main Opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) Dr Godwin Friday has warned residents against having “a false sense of security” amidst the COVID -19 pandemic.

Friday, in a national address recorded on Wednesday, before heath officials disclosed that the country had registered a second case of the deadly virus, called on the Government to quarantine all persons arriving in the island, regardless of where they are coming from.

He further called on the closure of the nation's borders to all but essential personnel, including nationals.

“Every country in the world now has COVID-19. That is, after all, why it is called a global pandemic. So, all arrivals from any country must be considered to be potential carriers of the virus and must be handled as such,” the Opposition leader said.

He further called on the Government to review its policy of in-home isolation or self-regulated quarantine, saying that it is “dangerous, because it is unenforceable”.

“Even when the authorities seize the passports of people on arrival, as is being done in some cases, this cannot guarantee compliance with the quarantine requirements. And a guarantee of compliance — not merely a likelihood — is what is required in the present circumstances.”

The Opposition leader said the Government must ensure that all persons observe the quarantine fully.

“The stakes are simply too high to have it otherwise,” he said, adding that this calls for a government-operated isolation facility to house all new arrivals for the 14-day quarantine period.

“It is the only way to protect the public from potential harm and prevent the spread of the virus in our country,” he said.

BVI prepares to go on complete lockdown for 14 days

TORTOLA, British Virgin Islands (CMC) — Residents in the British Virgin Islands have been urged to stock up on supplies and conduct essential business before the territory enters another 24-hour lockdown that will last for two weeks.

The Andrew Fahie-led Administration has designated three days for the stock up period.

Premier Fahie, who made the announcement in a live public broadcast earlier this week, said during the period the first letter of a person's surname will be used to determine when he/she will be allowed to leave their homes to access essential goods and services.

He said people with surnames beginning with the letters 'A' through to 'I' would be allowed to leave their homes to stock up and conduct essential business between 6:00 am and 6:00 pm yesterday.

Those with surnames beginning with the letters 'J' through to 'R' will be allowed the same privilege during the same hours today, while residents with surnames beginning with the letters 'S' through to 'Z' will be permitted out on Saturday.

He stressed that under the mandatory two-week quarantine, no one will be allowed to leave home.

“During this period measures will be implemented as to how they would receive essential supplies.”

He said these measures involve the establishment of a client support centre for quarantined persons.

This support centre will be managed by the Office of the Deputy Governor and the newly-installed Health Emergency Operations Centre.

“Those persons in the vulnerable categories must also remain at home and receive their essential and basic supplies through home deliveries.”

The premier added that essential workers listed in the curfew order as well as those shopping for “vulnerable categories, such as the the sick and elderly, will be allowed an extended time period to shop.

“Persons permitted outside their homes to use essential services must only leave their homes to go directly to those places of business and go straight back home. I remind you to do what is right and do not congregate anywhere or visit anyone while you leave your home,” Fahie said.

UN resident coordinator calls for multi-sectoral response

UNITED NATIONS (CMC) — The United Nations Resident Coordinator for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Didier Trebucq has called for a multi-sectoral response to meet immediate health emergency care and response needs.

On Wednesday, Trebucq said this response is needed while ensuring that a social safety net is created to support people whose income may drastically be reduced during this crisis,

“This multifaceted approach would seek mitigating shocks and support recovery efforts from a crisis that may exacerbate existing inequalities and result in losing past years' gains towards the achievement (the UN's) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”

Trebucq said among the most immediate concerns facing Caribbean Governments is the imminent threat to overburdened health care systems and fragile regional economies, “which has the capacity to cause widespread unemployment and erode social gains”.

He said: “As the Caribbean embarks on response and recovery efforts, the principles of leaving no one behind, non-discrimination, and commitment to universal access to essential services would be a useful basis for effective health-related, social and economic stimulus recovery policies.

“A targeted human rights-based approach is always essential if we are to safeguard and protect the interests of the elderly, women and girls, children, people with disabilities, migrants, persons in detention, the homeless and other marginalised and displaced groups, who are the most vulnerable,” he added.

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