Barbados imposes new COVID curfew

Barbados has imposed an islandwide curfew until January 14 in an effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The reopening of schools has been deferred until that time.

The measures coincides with the confirmation of 10 new COVID cases pushing the  tally past the 350 mark.

Prime Minister Mia Mottley has told Barbadians to “pause and not panic” as she announced that commercial fetes have been cancelled.  

According to Health and Wellness Minister Jeffrey Bostic, of the 10 new cases, five are of particular concern, with two being prison officers. 

He said the ministry is actively pursuing and investigating these cases because they cannot be linked to a recent travel history.

Meanwhile, all prison officers, inmates and civilian staff will be tested in the next 48 hours and again in five days.

In addition, Monday and Tuesday have been declared as bank holidays,  to allow public health officials the time and space to aggressively carry out contact tracing.

In relation to commercial fetes, the Prime Minister said that the organisers of the New Year’s Eve fetes will be reimbursed for perishable items and some set-up, as long as they can provide evidence of monies spent.

However, the organisers will not be reimbursed for alcoholic beverages.

Beaches will not be closed at this time but Mottley said technology will be made available to the Royal Barbados Police Force and the Coast Guard to keep adequate watch.

“What we do not want is people on the beaches gathering in the manner that they did on Boxing Day, which was completely unacceptable and for which I have asked the COVID Monitoring Unit to let me know how it happened and what actions they were going to take about it,” Mottley said.

The Prime Minister said gatherings are forbidden and asked people to stay at home in their bubbles and to sanistise and wear masks.

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