Head of the COVID-19 Monitoring Unit, Ronald Chapman, speaking at today’s COVID-19 update and press conference. (Prime Minister’s Office)

With an ease in COVID-19 restrictions beginning on Monday, February 14, including the removal of the current curfew, Head of the COVID-19 Monitoring Unit, Ronald Chapman, has assured the public that the Unit will continue to ensure a safe environment for all.

Mr. Chapman gave this assurance while speaking during a COVID-19 update and press conference at Ilaro Court this afternoon.

He stated: “We expect that persons will have lots of questions, and we are here to provide as many answers as possible. We will continue to move deliberately; we will continue to move slowly [and] incrementally to ensure that we increase the freedoms [and] reduce the level of restrictions while ensuring a safe environment.”

The official suggested that acting wisely, using good judgement, personal responsibility and being ‘our brother’s keeper’ is necessary if the country is to see a further decline in COVID-19 cases and a further reduction in the restrictions.

On the matter of compliance, the Head of the COVID-19 Monitoring Unit acknowledged that it takes a community time to change behaviour and over time, there has been an “uptick in compliance with protocols”.

“In the beginning, we saw some persons who had been implementing those behaviours immediately and then we saw some that we had to give a little nudge here and there. But as time went by… we’ve seen compliance in mask-wearing, … persons are far more aware now of how the disease spreads and you can see those that integrated physical distance, although we still have as you would appreciate some persons who breach that distance.

“And in terms of hand sanitising and the protocols at different business places and so on, we see that they are very consistent.  So overall, we have seen very good uptake in terms of persons following protocols and guidelines,” Mr. Chapman reported.

Responding to the query of if choir practice would be allowed, the Head of the COVID-19 Monitoring Unit said yes, but emphasised that persons would be required to continue the protocols of wearing masks and physical distancing of three feet.

He urged members of the public not to “throw caution to the wind” in light of the number of changes to the Directives and eases in protocols, but to continue to practise mask-wearing, hand sanitising and physical distancing. These, he stressed, have proven to be effective in reducing the spread of COVID-19.

sheena.forde-craigg@barbados.gov.bb

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