Lockdown Tightened as Active COVID-19 Cases on Montserrat Increase

Story updated at 8:55PM

A tighter lockdown begins on Tuesday, February 9 at 6AM after a student of the Montserrat Secondary School was confirmed as positive for COVID-19. The individual is a close contact of a known case and was confirmed during the course of the Ministry of Health’s contact tracing efforts.

The Ministry of Health and Social Services officials said this now brings the island’s active cases to five. At present all are in self- isolation and recovering well. Over 30 contacts of those identified have already been tested.

Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr. Braimah Kassim said on Monday evening that they are now testing 40 primary contacts of the student. He said the extent of the infections is currently unknown but “could be dangerously high.”

Minister of Health Charles T. Kirnon said as the current situation is fluid they must make some adjustments to the current lockdown order. For the next two days until Thursday, February 11, only essentials services, excluding banks, supermarkets and other businesses will be allowed to operate. Farmers, those who care for the elderly, medical and emergency staff are among those allowed to be outside their homes.

The Government of Montserrat has also reduced its essential services list and shifted various departments to on-call operations.

Kirnon urged the public to protect themselves and to consider the lives of others. He also encouraged the use of exercise and eating healthy food to help build up the body.

Officials said the increased lockdown was necessary to enable health teams to do their work as it was time sensitive. The lockdown, they hope will help to curtail the number of people who could be exposed to the primary contacts.

While Lee’s Pharmacy will be open, the pharmacy at the Glendon Hospital will not be open to the public for walk up service. Instead, the public is asked to call in their prescription refill orders.

Residents of Salem, Olveston, St. Peters, Manjack, Davy Hill and Sweeneys should call 664-496-8816. The prescription and the bottles should be places in a clean envelope or plastic for collection by health staff. Residents of Barzeys’, Peaceful Cottage, St. John’s and Lookout must call 664-496-8815.

The service will operate every Tuesday and Thursday and residents should call the day before to order the pick up.

For residents who have urgent and critical supply needs, they are asked to contact the Disaster Management Coordination Agency (DMCA) at 491-4800 491-4801 and 491-4802  491-3800 491-3802 to request assistance. They should have the funds available for the supplies which they need to be collected.

“We are in unchartered waters,” Premier Joseph Farrell said. “We all have to play our part to ensure we curtail the spread.”

As the Ministry of Health continues to seek and test primary contacts of known cases; residents are today being cautioned of the urgency of the present situation and the need to follow the established lockdown protocols. As far as possible residents should stay in the safety of their homes.

In addition, residents are advised to isolate and immediately seek medical attention should they experience any symptoms associated with the COVID-19 virus. Symptoms include common cold and flu symptoms such as sore throat, cough and runny nose; as well as sudden loss of smell or taste, nausea or diarrhea. Anyone experiencing symptoms should contact the “flu- hotline” (496-9724) during working hours, and the casualty department (491-2836/2552/ 2802) after hours.