COVID-19 update and press conference – February 15, 2021. (PMO)

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has indicated that the relevant authorities will be heightening their surveillance to ensure compliance with the COVID-19 protocols.

According to her, aggressive monitoring and enforcement were key in the ongoing battle to combat the spread of the virus.

Prime Minister Mottley made the declaration during an address to the nation this afternoon from Ilaro Court, which also saw her announcing the extension of the period of national pause until February 28.

Acknowledging that most Barbadians had been disciplined in their actions, the Prime Minister noted that there were individuals who failed to comply with the rules. She said those persons would be dealt with.

“Just because we’ve been on pause and you’re not seeing courts working every day, do not believe that there’s been no enforcement. Indeed, the Attorney General shared with me when I asked this morning, a list of 30 charges. I’m not sure how many people because one or two people have more than one charge, and they will appear before the law courts, very soon.

“And those ranged from as simple as not wearing the mask, to the more regrettable and unfortunate transgressions, which is opening shops and selling, which is literally having … parties or birthday celebrations,” Prime Minister Mottley disclosed.

In response to public calls for an extension of the three-hour period allocated for exercise or swimming at the beach, she said this was not possible at this time.

Directive-February-3-17-2021

Under the Emergency Management (COVID-19) Curfew (NO. 3) Directive, 2021, beaches are open to the public between 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. for the purpose of swimming and exercising. It also states that no more than two persons are allowed to exercise together, and they must be socially distanced, unless they are members of the same household.

Expressing concern about the activity of some beachgoers, Prime Minister Mottley suggested that beaches could soon be monitored in the interest of public health.

“I’ve asked for the COVID-19 Monitoring Unit to be assigned to beaches too, because if people are going to gather…, I will come back here and shut it down.  I don’t want to because we accept that Vitamin D and salt water are good for people and outdoors,” she warned, while appealing to persons to adhere to the protocols while at the beach.

Noting that humans were social creatures, she suggested that persons needed to acknowledge the impact of the virus on many of the activities to which they have grown accustomed.

The Prime Minister encouraged individuals to be responsible in their actions and “understand what we are doing to our healthcare workers when we continue with this licentious behaviour”.

 “Just stop, pause and renew your spirit.  If all of us were sick we [would not] have a choice but to stop.  So, let us do it without feeling any pain or sickness, and there’s a point that I’ve been trying to get across the persons,” she pleaded. Prime Minister Mottley also renewed her call for everyone to be their brother’s keeper, and to avoid encouraging persons to flout the rules.

nya.phillips@barbados.gov.bb

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