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THE LATEST NOTES FROM CABINET
Wednesday 17th February 2021

The Cabinet held an emergency meeting on Monday, February 15th to address the rising number of infections that now stress our healthcare systems, and does not appear to be abating. Seven members were present face-to-face, six were on-line and virtual.

The Cabinet invited the Director of the Mount St. John Medical Center, the Chief Medical Officer, the Doctor with administrative responsibility for the MSJMC, the Commissioner of Police. Following very vigorous discussions, the Cabinet decided to alter the Regulations governing the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic:

Notes from Cabinet: (pt1)

i. Curfew Hours are now increased, compelling all, except essential workers, to be off the streets between 6:00 p.m. to 5:00 am beginning Tuesday, February 16, 2021, until March 15, 2021.

ii. Social gatherings are now limited to 5 persons. Exceptions apply to Churches and remain at 25 persons; funerals are also limited to 25 persons.

iii. Home Quarantine and Home Isolation will no longer be allowed.  Residents who test positive for Covid-19 will not be returned home but are    to be sent to a wing of the quarantine hotel set aside for infected persons; persons in the household of the infected resident are to be tested and may            be required to quarantine at a government facility, wearing a bracelet.

iv. Bracelets will be worn by infected persons and may be worn by other persons placed in isolation and/or quarantine in order to ensure that no infected person disobeys the confinement rules that apply.

Notes from Cabinet: (pt2)

The Cabinet repeats the policies governing during this period. Masks are to be worn at all times when in public; there is to be social distancing; and hand sanitization is to be practiced frequently; surfaces are to be wiped frequently. Curfew continues from 8:00 pm to 5:00 am with the exceptions that have been published in the Gazette last year.

i. The Permanent Secretary in each Ministry is to coordinate with the Minister to determine which government employees can work from home, and therefore should not report physically for work. At work, employees are encouraged to establish “bubbles” in order to limit the spread of the virus to identifiable groups, rather than to the entire workforce within the building or in an office space.  Masks are to be worn by all employees at all times. The Cabinet encourages the private sector employers to adopt similar policies so that infections will be minimized.

ii. The Infectious Disease Center (IDC) established at the old Holberton Hospital is filled to capacity with 18 persons, and the ICU at MSJMC currently treats 5 severely ill patients.

iii. Thirteen new Nurses who recently graduated are to be immediately employed at the MSJMC in order to meet the increasing demands at the MSJMC. They will also supplement the number of nurses who are suffering comorbidities and have been asked to remain at home.

- The Minister of Health has informed the Cabinet that the Jolly Beach Hotel has been commissioned as the new Government Quarantine Center. The bracelets will likely be assigned to those who are assigned there. There is a report that returning nationals, allowed to self-quarantine, frequently disregard the rules.

More details here.


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