“We are in an unprecedented time,” says Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, 29th March, 2020 (SKNIS)–As the COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus 2019) disease continues to wreak havoc around the world with no country escaping the pandemic’s social, economic, and political impact, the Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, in declaring a 14-day State of Emergency to contain the disease, said that “we are in an unprecedented time” that requires extraordinary measures nationally, regionally, and internationally.

In a national address on Saturday, March 28, 2020, Prime Minister Harris said “as Prime Minister, I commit that I shall do what’s right for the people of this Federation. Your best interest is my guide. Let us continue to be calm and to confront this crisis together. I am confident that God will not forsake us and that together we shall overcome.”

St. Kitts and Nevis has recorded to date two confirmed cases of COVID-19 with no deaths.

In announcing the State of Emergency, which was sanctioned by the Governor-General of St. Kitts and Nevis, and took effect on March 28 from 7pm to 5am each day for 14 days, Prime Minister Harris said:

“We recognize that these are unusual measures which restrict the free movement of our people. However, we are in an unprecedented time and the dangers that confront our Nation demand that Government takes the serious measures to confront and overcome this pandemic. I emphasize that these strong measures are for 14 days, in the first instance and we shall continue to evaluate and adapt as necessary – as the situation evolves.”

“The Emergency Powers (COVID-19) Regulations provide for every person to remain confined to their place of residence, inclusive of their yard space, to avoid contact outside of their family, except in stipulated circumstances for example essential travel to the doctor, grocery store, bank, credit union, money services, business, pharmacy or to refuel vehicles,” Prime Minister Harris added.

Additionally social and physical distancing protocols have been stepped up to protect persons.

“Businesses will be required to observe a physical distance of 6ft between its customers in and outside of their businesses…Given the congestion in public transport vehicles and the potential for contagion we have imposed certain restrictions to protect operators of public transport and their patrons,” he said.

Persons are advised to follow the quarantine restrictions.

“The Cabinet remains concerned about allegations that persons are not faithfully complying with the quarantine restrictions. We cannot have anyone compromise the health and well-being and indeed the life of others. In this regard I must advise that strong penalties including fines of up to $5000 or a term of imprisonment can be imposed on those who fail to comply with the Regulations. I hope that good sense will prevail,” Prime Minister Harris said.

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