by Linda Straker
- Grenada’s security is compromised by Covid-19
- Mandatory 24-hour curfew from 7 pm on Monday, 30 March 2020
- Every person shall remain confined to their place of residence (inclusive of their yard space)
Health Minister, Nickolas Steele, said Grenada’s security is compromised in a way that it has never been before, by Covid-19, the coronavirus currently responsible for thousands of deaths worldwide.
As part of measures to reduce its spread in the country the island will be starting a 7-day mandatory 24-hour curfew from 7 pm on Monday, 30 March 2020.
“Lives are at stake. Your life is at stake. Your grandmother’s life is at stake. Your father’s life is under threat. My life and that of my family are under threat, and so is my neighbour’s. Whole families stand to be wiped out. From the halls of the palace to the seat of prime ministers, to the village slums, Covid-19 has shown that it respects no one,” Steele said in an address to the nation on Sunday night.
The mandatory curfew will be imposed beginning from 7 pm on Monday, 30 March and ending at 7 pm on 6 April 2020. During this period, every person shall remain confined to their place of residence (inclusive of their yard space), to avoid contact outside of their household; except as provided in the regulations or as may be authorised in writing by the Commissioner of Police.
Grenada as of 28 March, had 9 positive Covid-19 cases. Three were traced back directly to a Virgin Atlantic flight which arrived from the United Kingdom on 16 March. Five of the cases are persons who were exposed through one of the UK cases, while one is imported-related through relatives who arrived from New York on 17 March.
As of last week Wednesday, Grenada, acting with guidance from the 1987 Emergency Power Act declared a limited State of Emergency and gazetted the 2020 Covid-19 regulations which among other things, provides for a curfew from 7 pm to 5 am.
However, in his emotional address, Steele disclosed that several persons have not been complying with the regulations which were designed to convey the seriousness of the health threat about the coronavirus. Police to date have arrested persons for violating different sections of the regulations which on summary conviction is liable to a fine of EC$1,000 and to imprisonment for 12 months.
“Every time you break or ignore guidelines to quarantine when you have been exposed, you are potentially taking the life of one of our citizens. Maybe you are prepared to take the gamble, but unfortunately, it’s not only to your detriment. You are endangering the lives of each of us,” he said before announcing the new measures that the government is to enforce.
Point out the ruling New National Party administration is not in the business of gambling, Steele who also served as Minister responsible for Social Security, said, “Everything else pales in comparison to the health and wellbeing of a nation. This is not about economics. It is about saving lives. It is about public health, public safety and public order.”
He then announced that beach parties, bar gatherings and boat parties must end. “The crowded buses will be parked up. Everything that puts our lives and livelihood at risk, ends. Fellow citizens, as a result of the inability of some of you to follow the guidelines designed to keep you safe, the government is now revisiting the measures from last week, with a view to escalating them,” he promised. “This will give our medical authorities the necessary mechanisms to contain the very real possibility of a community spread of this Covid-19 virus. It will also ensure that there is proper maintenance of supplies and services.”