To allow for the incubation period of the local cases to expire, the lockdown on Montserrat has been extended for seven more days.
This was announced on Friday by the Minister of Health Charles Kirnon. He added that the government wants to avoid any further deaths from the virus at all costs.
Premier and Minister of Finance Joseph Farrell called having to enact a second lockdown “unfortunate”. The Cabinet on Thursday agreed to a financial package of support for those experiencing economic hardship due to the lockdown, which began on February 6, 2021.
Premier Farrell said that the Ministry of Health and Social Services has been placed on alert to prepare for processing the support which is being allocated from the government’s recurrent budget. “In the absence of support from the UK, we have had to tweak lines of our budget.” The premier said areas that could not be touched were health, social services and education. The details of the package and who are eligible will be announced early next week, he added.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Sharra Greenaway-Duberry said they are epidemiologically satisfied that all seven active cases on island are linked. This means there is local spread but not community spread, which is when they are unable to prove how the patient was infected. To allow for the incubation period of 14 days to expire since the last active case was found on February 13, they have recommended that the government extend the lockdown an additional seven days until February 28, 2021.
Slight changes have been made to the order to allow for businesses deemed essential to extend opening hours from 8AM to 4PM, rather than the previous 8AM to noon.
The public is expected to stay at home outside of these hours or the exercise hours of 6AM to 8AM and 4PM to 6PM.
Farmers’ permits are also automatically valid until February 28.
The CMO said they are aware that everyone is concerned about the economy, being able to travel and move more freely. This she said can happen more quickly if residents are vaccinated. At present. 744 have registered to be vaccinated. Local health centres have already given the COVID-19 vaccine from Oxford AstraZeneca to 568 people.
Their aim is to have 1500 people vaccinated from the current batch. The CMO added that having 90% of the eligible population is their goal. Currently, the vaccine is not being administered to anyone under the age of 18.
The new order goes into effect from Sunday, February 21 at 5AM.
DETAILS OF THE ORDER
Effective Sunday February 21, 2021 to Sunday February 28, 2021 at 5:00a.m. banks, gas stations, supermarkets and money transfer businesses will be allowed to operate until 4:00p.m. daily. However, only one member from each household is allowed to access any
of these essential services, once per day.
The list of businesses and time periods are as follows:
(a) a bank, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.;
(b) a gas station, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.;
(c) a bakery, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.;
(d) a grocery store, wholesale business or agricultural produce business, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.;
(e) a money transfer business, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.;
(f) a business connected with farming or fisheries, at a time approved by the Minster;
(g) a doctor’s office (by appointments only);
(h) a pharmacy from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.;
(i) an undertaker; and
(j) a business, person or organisation that is granted permission to operate.
The new Order, PUBLIC HEALTH (COVID-19 SUPPRESSION) (No.9) (AMENDMENT) ORDER (S.R.O. 14 of 2021), also makes adjustments to the testing requirements for a non-resident technician. In addition to the pre-entry negative COVID-19 test requirement, a non-resident technician will now also be required to take a PCR COVID-19 test or a RNA COVID-19 test on arrival in Montserrat.
All other regulations under the previous Order, PUBLIC HEALTH (COVID-19 SUPPRESSION) (No.9) ORDER (S.R.O 12 of 2021) remains unchanged. Passes issued under S.R.O. 12 of 2021 will be valid when S.R.O.14 of 2021 comes into force.
S.R.O 14 of 2021 expires on February 28, 2021 at 5:00a.m. The full S.R.O can be downloaded or read at the following link: