COVID-19 update and press conference- February 7, 2021. (PMO)

Officials today put the brakes on four illegal parties, which were in breach of the Emergency Management (COVID-19) (Curfew) No. 3 Directive 2021.

This disclosure came this evening from Coordinator of the COVID Communications Unit, Ambassador Elizabeth Thompson, during the COVID-19 press conference, where the vaccine was discussed.

Ambassador Thompson stated: “Today, alone, the compliance team, under Mr. Ronald Chapman, broke up four parties.  Yes, people are still having parties and they are not necessarily wearing their masks, and they are exceeding the number allowed.

“I am asked to remind you that it is not legal to have mass gatherings; that this could result in up to one year in prison, or a fine of up to $50,000.  Now we don’t want to criminalise anybody; that is not the intention. We want to protect you and we want you to protect us and the rest of our country and our communities.”

During this period of national pause, the directive clearly states that no person shall host or attend a party.

Ambassador Thompson said the COVID-19 situation in Barbados was serious, and stressed that those who were breaching the rules were putting everybody in danger.

During this period of national pause, the directive clearly states that no person shall host or attend a party.

She noted that, over time, an increasing number of men had tested positive for the virus.  “There are more than 700 men, nearly 800, who have tested positive for COVID since January, and the women over 400; so, you can see that there is a significant gap there.

“Now some evening, we can get into discussion as to why…more men are testing positive.  Is it that they are the ones who are out liming still? Is it that they are the ones who feel more invincible?” she asked.

As of February 6, 1,709 people tested positive for the virus, and 1,000 of them were men; 33 new cases were recorded and there were 291 active cases.

Ambassador Thompson said that data emphasised why members of the public needed to comply with the pause, which continues until February 17.  

She urged persons to take time out to think about what they could do differently to protect themselves and each other from the virus.

Meanwhile, she has expressed concern that persons who had the virus were being stigmatised and said public education would be coming to address that matter.

She added that she is still a victim of stigmatisation even though she had the virus nearly a year ago.

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