COVID-19 update and question and answer session – January 04, 2021. (PMO)

Government has increased the number of persons who can attend a funeral from 10 to 20, and those officiating at religious services from three to 10.

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley said Government had heard the recent entreaties of the Church, and after discussions with the Ministry of Health and Wellness, the decision was taken.  

During a press conference last Saturday, Attorney General Dale Marshall had announced the reduced numbers as outlined in the Emergency Management (COVID-19) Protocol (Special Curfew) Directive, 2021.

However, Ms. Mottley said: “This weekend, obviously, we took very stringent precautions because we were still very much in the beginning of contact tracing. We are satisfied, after consultation with the Ministry of Health officials, that we can increase the number of persons who are officiating in churches from three to 10, and … the number of persons going to funerals from 10 to 20….

“There must be specific permission for more than 20 persons at any funeral, and the COVID-19 Monitoring Unit will also ensure that somebody is there to monitor the protocols at these…funerals that ask for additional persons, should they be approved in that request.”

The Prime Minister made the comments on Monday evening during a COVID-19 update, where she, several of her ministers and senior government officials interacted with callers on matters pertaining to the prison officers and prisoners who recently tested positive for the virus.

Ms. Mottley said there was an improvement in the situation, and thanked Barbadians for their support. She noted that even though the number of positive cases had risen, there was still available space at the isolation centre at Harrison Point, St. Lucy.

However, she noted that Government would not wait until all the beds were filled at the institution to execute its plan.  

She pointed out that decisions had already been taken to “stand up” Blackman and Gollop School, if it was needed for persons without symptoms who had to be isolated.

The Prime Minister said she was satisfied that officials of the Ministry of Health and Wellness had been working beyond the call of duty and indicated that this was evident by the thousands of tests done over the weekend. She again urged members of the public to follow the protocols.

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